NSW Student Architecture Awards

NSW Student Architecture Awards

Celebrating the skills and talents of architecture students in NSW

The NSW Student Architecture 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.

2022 Student Architecture Awards Entry Handbook


NSW Student Architecture Awards program

Re-Framing Sofala | Jenny K Lin | The University of New South Wales | Photographer: Alexander Mayes
2020 Awards jurors | Photographer: Alexander Mayes
2020 Awards exhibition | Photographer: Alexander Mayes
Immersion | Antoine Portier and David Cadena | University of Sydney | Photographer: Alexander Mayes
2020 UNSW University Prize winners with program partner Liz Carpenter of FJMT | Photographer: Alexander Mayes
The NSW Architecture Award winner x

Jury Chair and Immediate Past National President Professor Helen Lochhead recognised x projects with national awards and x with commendations.

About the NSW Student Architecture Awards Program

University of Newcastle graduates at the 2020 Student Awards presentation event | Photographer: Alexander Mayes

Recognising excellence across nsw

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.

Nominated students will be able to submit their work for judging and be considered for the following honours:

  • Graduate Medal (Masters program)
  • Undergraduate Medal (Bachelors program)
  • NSW Architectural Communication Award
  • NSW Architectural Technologies Award
Each university will nominate its winners for:
  • Graduate of the Year (Masters program)
  • Graduate of the Year (Bachelors program)
  • History & Theory Prize 
  • Construction & Practice Prize 

All awards and prizes are conferred by the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.

With thanks to 2020 NSW Student Architecture Award Jurors

2022 NSW Jury

2022 Jury announcement coming soon

The Jury will be appointed by the NSW Chapter Council and will comprise:

  • NSW Chapter President, or a nominated representative who is a respected practitioner not actively engaged in any NSW architecture education programs
  • Interstate academic nominated by NSW Education & Research Committee
  • One representative of the practice partner for the Graduate Medal
  • One representative of the practice partner for the Undergraduate Medal
  • EmAGN chair or delegate

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.


How to enter

enter the awards

The 2022 entry requirements and judging criteria will be available when program opens.

The main entry requirements for the 2022 NSW Student Architecture Awards are as follows:

  • The Awards are open to students of the accredited NSW Schools of Architecture.
  • Entrants (including all entrants part of group projects) must be members of the Institute.
  • Group work shall be accepted for all Awards, nevertheless the number of students involved in the project must be clearly stated.
  • Where an Award is made to a group submission, any prize or disbursement shall be split between the group members.
  • To be eligible, projects must have been completed in the year preceding the year of judging.
  • With regards to the University prizes, nominations are collated when final results become available at the end of each academic year (e.g. 2022 awards will be made on the basis of academic achievements in 2022).

Click here to view the Student Entry Handbook

2020 University of Sydney Construction & Practice Prize winner Farah Rehman | Photographer: Alexander Mayes

Core Value Criteria

Each of the categories are judged based on a different set of criteria:

NSW Graduate Medal and NSW Undergraduate Medal

  • Engagement with and interpretation of the design brief
  • Conceptual strength of the design – Innovative or experimental responses
  • The depth of resolution
  • The rigour and quality of research into relevant matters
  • The effectiveness of the presentation
  • Functional performance (assessed against the brief)

NSW Architectural Communication Award

  • A resonance between the design and the mode of communication
  • Architectural communication and presentation skill.

NSW Architectural Technologies Award

  • Integration of technology, structure and construction
  • The depth of the technical resolution and/or detailing
  • Degree of technical innovation displayed
  • A resonance between the design, the technical resolution and/or detailing
University Prizes
University Prizes winners including Graduate of the Year (Masters program), Graduate of the Year (Bachelors program), History & Theory Prize and Construction & Practice Prize are provided by each university and not selected by the awards jury.

Key dates

Key dates for NSW Student Architecture Awards program 

  • University Awards Open – October 10 2022
  • Brian Patrick Keirnan Prize Opens: October 10, 2022
  • University Awards Close: January 23, 2023
  • Student Choice Award Opens: January 24, 2023
  • Brian Patrick Keirnan Prize Closes: February 3, 2023
  • Presentation to NSW Institute Jury: February 16
  • Student Choice Award Closes: March 2, 2023
  • NSW Student Architecture Awards Gala Presentation: March 3, 2023


For more information regarding this program, please email peter.fry@architecture.com.au

Student scholarships and prizes

Submit your entry for additional prizes and scholarships

The NSW Student Architecture Awards program features two additional travel scholarships. Brain Patrick Keirnan Prize for Students of Architecture is open to all NSW current students.

Immersion | Antoine Portier and David Cadena | University of Sydney | | Photographer: Alexander Mayes


The Brian Patrick Keirnan Prize is open to all current NSW students of architecture and is based on the theme of ‘Reimagining, Reinventing and Reinterpreting Public Space’. The prize is for overseas travel and research and/or overseas study to enrich professional development.

Following review by the jury, only one winning proposal will be selected each year. The winning individual or group will receive funding of $10,000 expressly for overseas travel and overseas research and/or overseas study for professional development that is aligned with the prize theme. In addition to selecting a winner for the Prize, it is also open to the jury to award a commendation/s for an entry/ entries which expresses strongly the themes of the Prize.

2020 Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary winners Annie Murphy and Samuel Jones with representatives Iftekhar Abdullah et al from Bangladeshi Architects in Australia | Photographer: Alexander Mayes

Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary

The Scholarship known as the Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary was established in 2010 by architect Rafiq Azam and Bangladeshi Architects in Australia (BaA) to enable students to gain architecture experience in Bangladesh.

This bursary provides an excellent opportunity for Australian-based students to study under architect Rafiq Azam and his team in Bangladesh. In addition to visiting local projects by renowned architects such as Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolf and Mazharul Islam. Following their travels, it is expected that the successful candidate/s will submit a short report and deliver a presentation on a topic of their choice.

The Rafiq Azam Travel Bursary consists of in-kind support of approximately $5,000 to cover economy airfare, accommodation and daily allowance for food and transport for a two-week residential work experience in Bangladesh for each successful candidate.

This scholarship is open to all entrants of NSW Student Architecture Awards in the same year only. Entrants will be invited to enter and are required to submit a statement addressing the two key criteria identified below (maximum one A4 pages per entry):

  1. The applicant’s interest in Bangladeshi architecture and design and their interest in exploring the potential for architecture to be of service to the Bangladeshi community.
  2. How this opportunity will enrich the applicant’s development and the understanding and capacity of the profession.

2020 NSW student Awards winners

2020 University of Sydney Graduate of the Year (Bachelor’s program) winner Rachel Liang with Juror Kathlyn Loseby and Program Partner Nando Nicotra of Jacobs | Photographer: Alexander Mayes

Watch the Live winners announcement in a free livestream

On 21 Feb 2020, the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects announced the winners of the 2020 NSW Student Architecture Awards, recognising the best student work completed last year at the four accredited schools of architecture in NSW.

NSW Chapter President Kathlyn Loseby said: ‘The awards program from the Institute is one of the most rigorous and prestigious in the industry. Simply being shortlisted in the NSW Student Architecture Awards provides graduates and undergraduates with the recognition for design excellence that can be a stepping stone to an outstanding career.

‘Following the recent bushfires and floods the jury were inspired by the students’ approach to environment, regeneration and rejuvenation,’ said Ms Loseby.

2020 Graduate Medal winner Jincheng Jiang with Jury Chair Michael Weiner of Mirvac Design | Photographer: Alexander Mayes

NSW GRADUATE MEDAL & Students Choice Award

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.

2020 Juror Jonathan Claridge with a student who accepted the Undergraduate Medal on behalf of Patrick Green | Photographer: Alexander Mayes


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.

2020 Communication Award winner Grace McLean with jurors | Photographer: Alexander Mayes


Stitches | 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.

Winner of the 2020 Technologies Award Dana Marjan accepting her award from NSW Chapter President and Vice President | Photographer: Alexander Mayes


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.

2020 Student Architecture Awards Cocktail Event | Photographer: Alexander Mayes


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 People's Choice Award

Hawthorn House | Edition Office | Victoria | Photographer: Ben Hosking
2019 People's Choice Award winner | Hawthorn House | Edition Office | Victoria | Photographer: Ben Hosking

Vote for your NSW favourite house

Residential projects in the 2020 National Architecture Awards shortlist from both the Houses (New) and Houses (Alterations and Additions) categories are eligible for the People’s Choice Award.

This year 13 houses are in the running to become Australia’s favourite house. Vote for your favourite today!

Vote for your favourite house and go in the running to win one of three $500 Bunnings vouchers thanks to our Major National Corporate Partner Dulux.

Contact us

Australian Institute of Architects

P: +61 (2) 9246 4055
E: nsw@architecture.com.au