Close up of awards

Sydney students win big at 2024 NSW Student Architecture Awards

15 March 2024
Emerging talent recognised with prestigious student awards
Students from the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning achieved a near sweep at this year's AIA NSW Student Architecture Awards. With four wins and a commendation, our students were well represented thanks to their incredible work and the support of our dedicated teaching staff.

Jiayi Li, NSW Graduate Medal (joint winner)

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Jiayi Li

Project: Our Stories 
Tutor: Melissa Liando 
MARC6000 Thesis Studio

Jury citation: Our Stories, a story within a story is set in Jakarta. It is woven into the culture and living patterns of its people. Abstract architectural theory blending with philosophy and psychotherapy produce an intellectually complex yet highly humanist project. The intellectual rigour is contrasted with the depth and care for cultural history and the human condition. The elements themselves are like pages in a flip book. Each page a different chapter inhabited with different characters all in a different vignette but all part of a greater whole. Vernacular architectural elements are used as sets and a backdrop for living with the spaces between, an interstitial zone linking to fine grained urban spaces where life takes place. 

Chiyuan (Lily) Li, NSW Undergraduate Medal

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Chiyuan Li

Project: Apparatus of Lost Identities 
Tutor: Alia Nehme 
BDES3027 Architecture Studio 3B

Jury citation: Chiyuan Li's proposal, The Apparatus of Lost Identities, presents a poignant exploration of displacement and belonging in Sydney Harbour. Li's concept, spanning from Nielsen Park to George’s Head Battery, cleverly intertwines physical and emotional journeys, reflecting on the diverse odysseys experienced by individuals over time. Through innovative spatial and temporal design, Li captures the essence of longing and nostalgia. The linear sequence of the performance space mirrors both physical drift and emotional odyssey, while dynamic elements like evolving roof spaces and changing copper columns symbolize the passage of time. The proposal explores the contemplation of displacement and the human quest for belonging. In The Apparatus of Lost Identities, Li offers a thought-provoking theatrical experience that transcends boundaries, inviting viewers on an introspective journey that extends far beyond the boundaries of the performance space and is a reflection on identity and place.

Pierre Dalais: NSW Architectural Technologies Award

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Pierre Dalais

Project: Reimagining Urban Vernacular: Reclaiming High-Tech Ruins for Low-Tech Living 
Tutor: Felix McNamara 
MARC6000 Thesis Studio

Jury citation: Reimagining Urban Vernacular: Reclaiming High-Tech Ruins for Low-Tech Living critiques the evolving relationship between architecture and its increasing reliance on building technology. Set in the ruins of ‘high-tech’ architect Norman Foster’s Deutsche Bank Building, the scheme explores an intriguing fictional future of decay and reclamation. The discursive relationship between utopia and dystopia is navigated via visually compelling storytelling and an architecturally resolved proposal. Dalais’ process follows a deliberate regression from the technological extremes of AI generated imagery to hand-made drawings and models, mirroring the regression of the final scheme’s occupants. It presents a meta-critique through the chosen media and a counterpoint to the accepted chronology of technological advancement, which adds further richness to the design thesis. The strength and foresight of Dalais’ commentary shows maturity and rigour in presenting to the viewer a vision of the future, whilst posing fundamental questions about our relationship with technology and habitation. 

Katrina Jelavic, NSW Architectural Communication Award

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Katrina Jelavic

Project: Divine Impressions 
Tutor: Jason Dibbs 
MARC6000 Thesis Studio

Jury citation: Katrina Jelavic's project, Divine impressions is about engaging with the spiritual and sublime in a world where one is increasingly distanced. The drawings are done by hand and are exquisite. The techniques and media create layers of depth and feeling reinforcing the fundamental thesis. The effect of this is to draw the viewer deeply into the project. Hand built stereoscopic maquettes further enhance this sense of immersion allowing one to project themselves into the various environments connecting with the essence of the work. 

Jacob Levy, Commendation for the Brian Patrick Keirnan Prize

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Jacob Levy

Project: Designing with Care: 82 Wentworth Park Road 
Tutor: Jason Dibbs 
MARC6000 Thesis Studio

Jury citation: Designing with Care: 82 Wentworth Park Road investigates how both people and buildings can age in place by challenging the proposal to demolish existing public housing in Glebe. In place of removal, the project sensitively explores the alternative approach of reuse, repair, and infill densification to safeguard existing housing for residents while also expanding and improving it. Identifying the site as a series of divisions, the proposal weaves the site together through design interventions such as a new porous urban courtyard and new architectural elements that promote looking inward to the courtyard and outward to its urban context. The level of community engagement and a thoughtful design that reimagines and improves both physical and social connections is commended by the Jury. 

The ceremony also awarded university-nominated prizes to students from each NSW school of architecture. Congratulations to our University of Sydney Prize winners:

  • Kevin Hwang - Graduate of the Year (Master’s program)
  • Jessica Hua - Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program)
  • Chiyuan (Lily) Li - Construction and Practice Prize
  • Joseph Arabit - History and Theory Prize

Header image credit: Stanley Images

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