2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards

Our NSW Student Architecture Awards page has moved – head to the NSW Chapter page of the Australian Institute of Architects for all information on 2021 Awards here. For historical information and to find out more about the past winners, please follow links below on this page.

2019 Medal Winner Joshua Sleight | The University of New South Wales

The winners were announced in occasion of the NSW Student Architecture Awards Night on 21 February 2020, please check the digital catalogue.

2020 NSW Student Awards Catalogue

Media Release

The winner of the inaugural Student’s Choice Award is:

Jincheng Jiang of The University of New South Wales for the project A Place To Share Our Hands.


Full list of award winners, university prizes, jury and program partners:
A Place To Share Our Hands | Jincheng Jiang | The University of New South Wales
This thoughtful project resonated in its approach to the problem of connecting disparate people living in high density cities, often from diverse social and cultural backgrounds, where language barriers exist and preclude interaction, exacerbating the feeling of isolation. The project looks beyond how we connect through language alone, exploring how communication and social interaction can be established through the process of sharing and observing the movements and activities of hands.
With careful placement of buildings and their openings, windows and framed views, the resolution of the intimate to progressively public spaces enables passive or introverted observation through to more socially extroverted and interactive performance spaces. Importantly, the placement of these urban rooms is connected to the surrounding context, responding to existing active edges, view corridors and movements across the site while also creating places of sanctuary from the ‘busyness’ of the city. The jury was impressed by the narrative created with thoughtful diagrams, study models and drawings that were evocative of the concept and demonstrated a deep connection to the project, depth of rationale and research. This journey was fully realised in the well refined architectural expression of the buildings and urban spaces that provide a competent solution to the question of human connection and belonging in our cities.


Kulaluk | Tom Byard | The University of Newcastle
Kulaluk is an ambitious project which presents the many benefits that meaningful engagement of the local Aboriginal community can have in understanding their histories and shaping their environments. Impressively, this project involved extended student engagement with Tibby Quall of the Dangallaba Clan, Arnhem Land Elders including Dulcie and Daughter Rhonda, conservationist Graham Kirby and anthropologist Bill Day. Kulaluk demonstrates that latent site narratives can be revealed through these important conversations with the local community and that architectural design processes have the potential to incorporate First Australians’ voices.

Beneath, Beyond | Janani Premchand | The University of Newcastle
Beneath, Beyond is a rich and evocative graduate project which demonstrates the value of thorough research and analysis, not only of a site but of the broader cultural, social, political and historical environment within which the proposed development is to occur. The project, located at Booderee National Park near Jervis Bay, has brought together the natural, the Indigenous and the nuclear history of the site successfully and seamlessly as a thought provoking journey through interlocking spaces evoking consideration of what was and contemplation of what could be.

Shucks: Oyster Remediation Plant | Patrick Green | The University of Newcastle
Shucks presents an ambitious vision as ‘the world’s first Oyster remediation plant’, to transform Newcastle from a languishing coal port to a future Port of Service. This vision is delivered through interventions of both spatial and environmental systems design, harnessed to work symbiotically with seasonally adjusted architectural form. Carapace shells from landfill transplant the foundations of an artificial reef, which in turn instigates the seasonal cycle of the plant.
Thoughtful planning of a sequence of natural processes in the spawning, nurturing and harvesting of oysters underpin the ecological services these activities provide, as oysters filter the water, cleanse the harbor of pollution, and once shucked the shells provide construction materials for anticipated development of the area.
The project demonstrates a mature approach to the brief, and a high standard of accountability with respect to the environmental footprint of the proposition. The video communication of the scheme provided a compelling narrative sequence of process, grounded in significant contextual analysis and leveraging ecological processes attuned to seasonal circumstances.


Re-Framing Sofala
| Jenny K Lin | The University of New South Wales
The project seeks to rejuvenate the historic town of Sofala with a new cultural facility. Composed of two main pavilions, the buildings form both a gateway to facilitate a gentle transitional experience for visitors and space for a town square for community gatherings and public events. It
does this by understanding the village fabric, landscape and topography, weaving these elements into a highly resolved outcome. The art gallery addresses the main street forming a built edge.
Glazed walls front the natural realm engaging with the environment and opening to the landscape to bring nature into the facility. The tectonics, relationship to the natural environment as well as the character of the spaces are given life through the quality of the renderings and drawings.

Next Goal | Qing Yan | The University of Newcastle
This imaginative project seeks to re-engage the local community with an underutilised sports and recreational facility, while strengthening the physical connections across the city. Set within the National Park Sportsground in Newcastle, the project proposes a hybrid typology of elevated pathways and programmed spaces, set above the floodplain and carefully arranged around the existing sports fields and pedestrian and bicycle paths that traverse the site.
Through the use of physical models, hand sketches and engaging cutaway sections, the proposal demonstrates a thoughtful exploration of ideas, integrating water management infrastructure, sports and recreational activities, and public spaces to create an engaging multilayered
community facility.


| Grace McLean | The University of Newcastle
Stitches proposes a new urban green metabolism in which waste and stormwater treatment are decentralised and integrated with their surrounding context. The outcome reconfigures the relationship between waste and society from an outdated linear throughput model to a more transparent, circular and coexistent model. Given the challenge this proposition presents to accepted suburban centralised and ‘invisible’ waste water treatment systems, the communication of the proposition is vital to overcome public scepticism and potential resistance.
Responding to this challenge, the video presentation provided a compelling narrative of the ecological systems, using evocative imagery and strategic sequences, which demonstrate a mature approach utilising design as advocacy to raise awareness of the use and remediation of water in domestic living.
The decentralised system treats and disposes near the source while integrating public program. As such it highlights and reframes a public utility system process previously relegated ‘out of sight’, as a holistic ecological process to be witnessed and integrated within the daily life environment. The insertion of public program provides the catalyst for engaging greater public awareness and daily interaction with sequences within waste water processing – ultimately highlighting the need for
greater awareness and action to ensure sustainable water management.


Or, Any, If, May: A Text of Two Cities
| Dana Marjan | University of Technology Sydney
The jury was unanimously impressed with this challenging and powerful provocation to reframe words as technology. The strength of Or, Any, If, May: A Text of Two Cities lies in its advocacy that we acknowledge and address the extent to which the words contained within legislation are powerful delineators of boundary, deployed as technology.
The work analysed legislation, drew out specific potent recurrent terms and then presented a screenplay as a technical section of the city, to highlight and expose the manner in which words within policy and legislation are applied in technical ways that underpin and constrain the deployment of spatial boundaries and the places of occupation they delineate. This work
challenges the expectation that technologies must always be considered and presented as drawings of systems and physical matter.
The highly innovative proposition illuminates that the structure and construction of text act alongside the technical resolution and detailing of legislation as powerful spatial forces imposing both opportunity and limitation, dependent upon their application. The provocation challenges us
all to reconsider the agency of legislation and policy in shaping our cities.


| Antoine Portier and David Cadena | University of Sydney
This project reimagines, reinvents and reinterprets one of Sydney’s most iconic public spaces – Circular Quay – in a challenging, dynamic and thought-provoking way. Located on the western side of the Quay at the site of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, the proposal’s conceptual
underpinning and the resolution that flowed from it were particularly impressive. Located opposite from the terminal, the high platform and grand stairs of the Sydney Opera House were designed  with influence from Mayan pyramids, aiming to “free and raise buildings and people above
everyday life”. Extending this narrative, ‘Immersion’ proposes an inverted monumental gesture – a playful counterpoint to a site seeming to call for an iconic object.
‘Immersion’ displays a progressive approach to the way people in this reimagined public domain would interact with and experience the natural environment, which they are unable to do so at present. It encourages a return of a largely privatised waterfront to the community by addressing the existing impediments to public access to the foreshore and harbour. ‘Immersion’ reflects the aims and purpose of the prize in expressing on a grand scale – with imagination and lyricism – the possibility of a reimagined space and the opportunities that flow from that.


Carrington Living With Water
| Christopher Zietsch, Brady Ainsworth and Joseph Gonzalez| The University of Newcastle
Although we must strive to limit the impacts of climate change, there are some realities that may no longer be reversible. Carrington Living With Water presents a future in which we not only learn to adapt to these realities, but in which we learn to thrive. The proposal takes the industrial suburb of Carrington and transforms its streets into a network of biodiverse waterways, and its warehouses into new housing typologies, storage for shared cars, or compelling artefacts within a verdant landscape.


The University of New South Wales
Natalie Ho – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
Jincheng Jiang – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
Nailah Masagos Zulkifli – History & Theory Prize
Natalie Ho – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Newcastle

Jye Whyte – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
Thomas Byard – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
Emilie Winter – History & Theory Prize
Annie Murphy – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Sydney
Rachel Liang – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
Xiaoxi Tan – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
Alvin Hui – History & Theory Prize
Jake Boydell – Construction & Practice Prize

The University of Technology Sydney
Ho Kyeong Kim – Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
Grace Louise Dwyer – Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
Sarah Choo – History & Theory Prize
Farah Rehman – Construction & Practice Prize

2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards Jury:
Michael Wiener (Jury Chair), Mirvac Design
Dr Angelique Edmonds, University of South Australia
Jonathon Claridge, Bates Smart
Kathlyn Loseby FRAIA, NSW Chapter President
Laura Cockburn, Conrad Gargett
Tiffany Liew, Co-chair of the NSW Emerging Architects + Graduates Network

2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards – Program Partners
NSW Graduate Medal: Mirvac Design
NSW Undergraduate Medal: Bates Smart
NSW University Prizes: Crone (UTS), FJMT (UNSW) and Jacobs (University of Sydney)

NSW Student Architecture Awards – General overview

The NSW Graduate & Student Awards program was established in 2010 coinciding with the introduction of the Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees. The aim of the program is to promote the skills of architecture students in NSW.

Key dates

  • Online entries open: 22 November 2019
  • Online entries close: 20 January 2020
  • Student’s Choice Award: online voting opens on Wednesday 22 January and closes Friday 21 February 2020 at 2 pm
  • Submission of additional material: 30 January 2020
  • Presentation to Juries, Partners’ Cocktail & Exhibition launch: 6 February 2020
  • 2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards EXHIBITION, 7– 20 February 2020
    at Tusculum, Monday to Friday, 10am–4pm
  • NSW Student Architecture Awards Night: Friday 21 February 2020

Winners will be announced in February at the NSW 2020 Student Architecture Awards Night.

All nominees for the Awards are required to submit their work, which will be exhibited at Tusculum as part of the annual NSW Student Architecture Awards Exhibition.

Nominated graduate projects will be considered for the NSW Graduate Medal.

Nominated undergraduate projects will be considered for the NSW Undergraduate Medal.

All graduate and undergraduate projects submitted for the Medals above will also be considered for the NSW Architectural Communication Award and NSW Architectural Technologies Award.

The Awards also include four University nominated prizes for each NSW school of architecture:

  • Graduate of the Year (Bachelors program)
  • Graduate of the Year (Masters program)
  • History & Theory Prize to the student with the highest aggregate mark
  • Construction & Practice Prize to the student with the highest aggregate mark

As part of the program and in cooperation with Bangladeshi Architects in Australia, the Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary will also be awarded to a graduate nominee.

Important Documents

Entries for the 2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards will open on Friday 22 November.

Please note that only projects nominated by an accredited School of Architecture in NSW (UNSW, University of Sydney, University of Newcastle and UTS Sydney) can be entered with the aim to be judged for the:

  • NSW Graduate Medal (best graduate project);
  • NSW Undergraduate Medal (best undergraduate project).

All projects will also be judged for the:

  • NSW Architectural Communication Award;
  • NSW Architectural Technologies Award.

The Awards include University nominated prizes to students from each NSW School of Architecture.
Each university will nominate the most outstanding student in four areas for a prize that will be presented at the Awards Night.


Chair: Michael Wiener, Mirvac Design
Jonathan Claridge, Bates Smart
Laura Cockburn, Conrad Gargett
Dr Angelique Edmonds, University of South Australia
Tiffany Liew, Co-Chair EmAGN NSW Committee
Kathlyn Loseby FRAIA, NSW Chapter President

No jury member is to have taught at any of the accredited NSW schools of architecture during the period for which submissions have been entered. The jury must have at least one member having studio teaching experience.

Award Partners

With thanks to our partners: Mirvac Design   Bates Smart   Crone   fjmt   JacobsConnects and patron   lahznimmo



Our NSW Student Architecture Awards page has moved – head to the NSW Chapter page of the Australian Institute of Architects for all information on 2021 Awards here.




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