Thomas Street Building by BVN and Durbach Block Jaggers
Dr Chau Chak Wing building by Frank Gehry
Haberfield Rowing Club by HASSELL
Faculty of Engineering building by Denton Corker Marshall

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is holding a competition for architecture graduates to design and build a new public hub on Cockatoo Island in Sydney.

Open Agenda is an annual design competition aimed at supporting a new generation of experimental architecture in Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, Open Agenda will change its format by partnering with the 20th Biennale of Sydney and by awarding winners financial support to develop and install their proposal for the opening of the 20th Biennale in March 2016. The program will also award the winner $8,000 in design fees to deliver the project.


The proposals will be for a new public program and education hub for the Biennale to be situated within the old Naval Store on Cockatoo Island (pictured above). Graduates have until 22 January to get their proposals in for the design and will have to consider a $15,000 construction budget  and the following brief from UTS:

The education hub should accommodate:

  • A meeting point for friends, family, and tour groups – it should be a welcoming space that can accommodate a range of crowd sizes and groups of up to 50 people standing and sitting
  • A flexibility able to accommodate the needs of a variety of education uses, such as discussion, performance, talking, relaxing, making and reflecting spaces
  • Spaces for visitors passing through, as well as visitors who might spend a few hours in an education workshop
  • A structurally robust solution able to support continuous use for three months and at times, large numbers of people
  • Capacity to be packed down or cleared away. The design should reflect a means through which the space can be ‘cleared’ when necessary
  • A communal table and/or space (or similar) that inspires interaction – could be used for large informal dinner or makers workshop for example
  • Structures/panels or similar offering display options e.g. boards for artwork/drawings
  • A screen or screens for digital presentations
  • The use of materials and construction techniques that are sustainable for install in the short timeframe available, and recyclable after the event
  • Because of the heritage nature of the building, hub elements should be freestanding (i.e. not attached to walls)
  • The capacity to facilitate a short design development, build-in and removal time
  • A design for a temporary public space in accordance with standards for public safety and security

The winning proposal will be awarded the commission to develop and construct their proposal with the client (Biennale of Sydney) working with a mentoring office as necessary. Prize money will be awarded to the proposal selected to move into development and construction as design fees. Two additional schemes will be awarded joint second place, and exhibited online at the Open Agenda Website.

Graduates from a professional Australian or New Zealand degree in architecture in the last ten years (including and after 2005) are invited to submit a proposal. 

Two runner-up schemes will be awarded $500 each and have their proposals exhibited through Open Agenda.

For more information visit here

Images: Open Agenda