About the Prize
The bluescope Glenn murcutt student prize
The Australian Institute of Architects BlueScope Glenn Murcutt Student Prize has been established to recognise outstanding architectural student work which demonstrates excellence in response to place, technology and Australian culture.
The prize is presented every second year, with a cash prize of $8,000 to the winning student!
Who can participate
The 2021 BlueScope Glenn Murcutt Student Prize is open to Architecture students who meet all the eligibility requirements below:
- Current student (SONA) members of the Institute
- Architecture student who have completed or are currently enrolled in:
- An undergraduate degree (with a pathway to completing am accredited Master of Architecture) during 2021/2022 or
- Accredited Master of Architecture Students enrolled during 2021/2022
- Design work submitted by students is to have been undertaken within an Australian architecture course in either 2021 or 2022.
- Only one entry per person may be submitted. Group entries are not permitted.
Please note student do not self-nominate for this prize. A student needs be nominated by their tertiary institution and supply a letter of endorsement from the Head of School/lecturer with their entry.
For the purposes of the prize, students represented on the Australian Institute of Architects/SONA national committee, excluding SONA National President, are considered eligible to enter this competition.
what the Judges look for
The selection criteria used by both the tertiary institution and National juries shall include, but are not limited to the following:
- Degree of complexity of the program.
- Sensitivity and communication of response to place and environment.
- Practicality of approach to technology and feasibility of construction demonstrating an appreciation of build ability, structure and services requirements.
- Sensitivity of response and relevance to Australian culture.
About the process
STEP 1: University judging
Each Australian tertiary institutions selects one or two nominees to be considered by the National Jury. Nominee numbers from each university are determined as follows:
- Schools with less than 500 students enrolled may select one nominee from their eligible students.
- Schools with 500 or more students enrolled may select up to two nominees from their eligible students
Selection procedures are at the discretion of each tertiary institution, but entries are judged based on the judging criteria.
STEP 2: Submission
Each tertiary institution invites their nominee to submit their entry to the Australian Institute of Architects via an online entry system. Each nominee is to provide the following relevant supporting material:
- Up to 12 scanned or digital images of the project
- A written statement (max 450 words) describing how the project demonstrates excellence in response to place, in response to technology and in response to Australian culture.
- A letter of support from your University, in the form of a University letterhead with a signature of the nominating Head of School/lecturer.
STEP 3: National judging
The National Jury will meet to select a final prize winner from the nominees put forward by the tertiary institutions.
The jury will consist of:
- Glenn Murcutt or representative
- Australian Institute of Architects National President
- SONA National President.
Congratulations Rhiannon Brownbill
The 2023 Bluescope Glenn Murcutt Student Prize is awarded to Rhiannon Brownbill of University of Technology, Sydney for her project Burudi Gurad, Burudi Ora (Healthy Country, Healthy People), which captivated the jury intellectually and emotionally. Drawn from engagement with Aboriginal Elders and an Aboriginal Knowledge Keepers Circle, it challenges the protocols of healthcare framed by Western medicine, exploring instead how people might work, live and heal with Country.
Situated on Me-Mel island in Sydney Harbour and cultivating a rich understanding of place, the project not only respects but actively engages with the natural environment. Its singular architectural form acknowledges traditional structures but resists sentimentality to provide a confident, contemporary response to the brief. The arrangement of treatment rooms nimbly balances the technical requirements and human needs of care. Local materials and building techniques are deployed with appropriateness and skill, and an awareness of embodied cultural memory. The project’s lightweight and permeable language understands the site’s flora and fauna as active participants in its architectural life.
It is impossible to remain an impassive observer when confronted by the technical drawings developed to describe this project; they effortlessly communicate the precision and richness of thinking that underpins all aspects of its conception and development.
The jury is delighted that Brownbill is currently working with the health sector to explore how the findings of the project could transform contemporary practice.
Laura Harding RAIA (Chair) | Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects
Shannon Battisson FRAIA | National President, Australian Institute of Architects | The Mill: Architecture + Design
Nicole Mesquita-Mendes | SONA President, Australian Institute of Architects
The jury awards the 2021 Bluescope Glenn Murcutt Student Prize to Kelly Nortje for her project “Remove – Repair – Reciprocity.”
The jury responded to the evocative precision evident at every scale of the project’s conception.
Nortje’s decision to work in a seemingly nondescript place – a residual corridor of industrial and residential fringe, caught between high-speed transport corridors – led to a lyrical investigation of the site’s broader, latent ecology. Through this intellectual and physical framework, Nortje creates the conditions for profound ecological and social change.
The removal of hardstand surfaces encourages the remediation of soils through perennial grass plantings. The adaptive re-use of industrial sheds translates places of resource exploitation into places for generative “making.” A series of flexible workshops, studios and local enterprises are united by central semi-enclosed garden courts with rammed-earth walls that anchor the insertions beneath their industrial canopy. The project generates a porous and relaxed civic sensibility – an engagingly “light” conception of Australian public culture.
The jury was inspired by the sensitivity of the approach, the sophisticated resolution of its architectural response, the deft frugality and conceptual richness of the building’s tectonic language and its exquisite expression through architectural drawing.
‘The jury was unanimous in awarding the 2019 BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize to Sobi Slingsby of Griffith University for her project on Lady Elliot Island.
Sobi’s scheme is a beautifully considered architectural response to the anticipated impact of climate change and sea-level rise on a coral cay at the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef. The proposal is for a group of shelters, both on land and over the water, that provide the essential needs of human habitation. The land-based structures are kept below the treetops, while those on the water are raised on sturdy foundations and imagined to foster new coral growth as the coral cay adapts to climate change.
The natural world is not static – the shelters can be tuned to suit different climatic conditions and adverse weather to capture breezes, offer shade and withstand the extremes of tropical cyclones. The technologies are simple and direct, providing an experience akin to camping. Their small footprint and elevated platforms evoke the childhood pleasures of the tree house with views over the island, surrounding reefs and ocean.
All aspects of the scheme have been carefully considered and are illustrated with outstanding drawings, eloquent narrative and refined imagery.’ – Jury Citation