Architecture students' grand designs claim top prize

Date: 06 August 2021

Architecture students Bella Mulvihill and Justin Stokes. Picture: Cavan Flynn

A partnership between Bond University and community developer and home builder Sekisui House Australia has helped two budding architects win $1000 each after taking top spot in an urban design project competition.

Fifteen second-year students at Bond’s Abedian School of Architecture were given the opportunity to design a sustainable and ecologically-sound residential space linking Ripley Town Centre and Ecco Ripley in south-east Queensland’s growth corridor west of Brisbane.

Winning students Justin Stokes and Bella Mulvihill were thrilled with their success.

All the participating students were given the chance to tour Ripley Town Centre and Ecco Ripley, giving them first-hand experience of the challenges of creating a residential space to transition from mid to high-density mixed use at Ripley Town Centre, to low-density residential living at Ecco Ripley.

“It definitely made a difference because when we actually went out to do our site visit it added another layer of realism to it, you could feel it, whereas a lot of the other projects you know they’re completely conceptual,” Mr Stokes said.

Bond University Associate Professor Dr Daniela Ottmann was part of the judging panel which chose the winners, and said the students were being introduced to global issues surrounding architecture and urbanism, including techniques to approach sustainable urban development.

Ms Mulvihill particularly appreciated the sustainability aspect of the competition.

“Sustainability is very important, in previous years the built environment has made a huge effort to put that at the forefront of design, the built environment has a very close relationship with the world and the climate issues we’re having currently, so I definitely think that is one aspect that should be one of our focusses when we’re designing.”

Sekisui House Australia project director Taku Hashimoto said the project provided students with real-world experience and promoted practical but out-of-the-box thinking.

“Students had to think strategically about how their residential design solution was fit-for-purpose, including how noise was managed, where the access points were located, the integration of power transition and the inclusion of parks and other common space.”

Bond University and Sekisui House Australia are now exploring opportunities to permanently embed the design project into the architecture curriculum.