Rising young architect wins 2013 Glenn Murcutt Student Prize

News /
21 March 2013
Rising young architect wins 2013 Glenn Murcutt Student Prize

A proposal which showcases more productive ways to use the land around our cities has won one of Australia's most prestigious student architecture awards.

The 2013 BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize has been presented to Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) student James Loder for his design of a hypothetical university horticulture research centre called Cider Hill - named because of its incorporation of a cidery into a place of learning and residence.

The BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize is awarded to work which demonstrates excellence in response to place, technology and Australian culture. The Prize is a part of the Australian Institute of Architects' Awards Program and was presented at their Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards ceremony last night.

Each of Australia's participating architecture schools review their students' studio work and choose the best one or two pieces for submission.

Judging is carried out by a national jury consisting of Glenn Murcutt and the National Presidents of the Australian Institute of Architects and Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA), Shelley Penn and Danny Brookes, respectively. The trio were unanimous in its decision to award James Loder's Cider Hill the prize.

Selection criterion includes a project's degree of complexity, sensitivity and communication of response to its proposed place and environment, the practicality and feasibility of the project and sensitivity to Australian culture.

Mr Loder's Cider Hill proposal satisfied the 'place' criteria of the prize by hypothesising how land around our cities can better cultivate food while coping with the growth in population density.

The proposal, set in Victoria's Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne, is of an orchard and a new faculty for RMIT - the School of New Horticulture.

Satisfying the 'technology' criterion is the entry's use of well-established building materials and techniques to create a unique space.

"Concrete, metal and glass are used in the roofs, while lightweight retaining walls help use the earth as an insulator," said Mr Loder.

The entry's 'culture' criteria is addressed via its relevance to Australia's population future.

"We have a growing population in Australia, and Cider Hill attempts to make people aware of issues such as food importation while fostering greater cultural diversity through the establishment of student residences," he said.

Commendations awarded for the 2013 BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize included entries from Christopher Mullaney and Anthony Parsons, both from the University of Newcastle.

Mr Mullaney's project depicted the futuristic development of an abandoned Tasmanian copper mine into a space travel terminal, while Mr Parsons' showed how a disused floating dock in Newcastle Harbour could be repurposed for future generations.

BlueScope Steel market manager - commercial and industrial, Manu Siitonen, said that BlueScope is proud to support the development of tomorrow's designers and architects.

"These projects allow students to explore practical and feasible solutions to improve real parts of Australia," he said.

"From what we've seen in the commended works it appears the creativity from Australia's architecture students is abundant and we're happy to play a part in opportunities for them to excel."

The 2013 BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize provides a certificate for the winning entry along with an $8000 cash prize. The winner is sponsored to attend the 2013 Australian Achievement in Architecture awards ceremony and all finalists will be awarded flights, accommodation and tickets to Melbourne for the 2013 National Architecture Conference.

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