Three final year Master of Architecture students from the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology have been announced as the recipients of the inaugural Philip Y Bisset Planning (Architecture) Scholarship.

Announced by the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, the scholarship will offer each recipient $15,000 to undertake overseas study or research of architecture with a particular emphasis on the planning and design of buildings. Established in honour of Life Fellow Philip Bisset who left a generous bequest to the Queensland Chapter, the scholarship is the first stage of a new philanthropic strategy for architectural education in the state focusing on continued growth and vitality.

Queensland Chapter President and Jury Chair, Bruce Wolfe congratulated Lucinda Smith, Brittany Hill and Lauren Hickling on their successful applications. The esteemed selection panel also included Elizabeth Watson Brown (Adjunct Professor, University of Queensland), Paul Fairweather (former Adjunct Professor, Griffith University), Christopher Gee (ASA Committee, Bond University) and Kevin O’Brien (former Professor, Queensland University of Technology).

The high calibre of submissions impressed the jury to the extent that three scholarships were awarded this year.

Over a distinguished career spanning more than 60 years, Philip Yeats Bisset worked on a total of 63 hospital projects including St Vincent’s Hospital in Toowoomba and the Mater Hospitals in Townsville and Bundaberg, in addition to facilities for the Salvation Army and the Federal Government, and Darwin’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.

2016 Philip Y Bisset Scholarship recipients and winning submissions

Lucinda Smith, University of Queensland

“I believe that architecture is a cultural phenomenon. I want to learn to look beneath the visual façade of the built world and see the effect of cultural imperatives on the way people live. Through personal circumstance, I now have a unique opportunity to spend time living in the Middle East. I propose combining a set of three Visiting Schools offered by the Architectural Association with residence in Saudi Arabia for several months to develop my personal experience of Islamic culture, to apply this experience to deeper analysis of the cultural bases of the built Islamic world and then to develop a more informed set of substantive cultural bases and objectives for practising as an architect in Australia. The AA Visiting Schools would offer a significant opportunity to deepen my understanding of comparative methods of design, while providing a formal framework for understanding the connections between Islamic and Australian forms of architecture and urbanism.”

Brittany Hill, Queensland University of Technology

“Through my involvement in the design and documentation of Correctional projects over the past two years, I’ve gained a unique insight into how Architecture helps to assist inhabitants’ rehabilitation and integration back into the community and therefore is able have a profoundly positive impact on many people’s lives. This experience has had a big impact on me and has heavily influenced the direction I’d like to take my own practice as an Architect in – exploring Architecture as a social tool to help others and act as a preventative measure, particularly in the realm of crime prevention through environmental design.

“I would therefore like to use this opportunity to research and document a number of social/urban housing projects across Europe, in order to explore tangible design and planning mechanisms which could inform alternative models for the future of housing and help those who are displaced by circumstances outside their control.

“It is intended that in addition to the written component required for presentation to the Australian Institute of Architects, that I would produce from this experience a small, independent publication with a curated collection of photographs, drawings and information about some of the projects I visited.”

Lauren Hickling, Queensland University of Technology

‘To live is to pass from one space to another’ ‐ George Perec, “Species of Spaces”

“The proposed program is an 11-day workshop in Mexico City run by the Architectural Association as part of their renowned visiting school program, followed by 6 weeks of self‐directed investigation into the urban conditions of Mexico and Tokyo Cities. The Mexico City visiting school offers 5 unique units/workshops in one visiting school within the framework ‘Species of Spaces’, inspired by an essay by George Perec. The program will facilitate the identification and exploration of the interrelationships of countless spatial typologies existing within Mexico City on a multitude of scales. Participants of the workshop will explore methods to connect past and present urban configurations, landscape interfaces and infrastructural typologies essential to the practice of architecture and planning of buildings.

“Units will also address issues of urban disruptions and topography as a possibility to engage with socio‐cultural, infrastructural, and environmental issues; embarking on a quest to understand the different ‘species of spaces’ produced in Mexico.

“As the second largest urban area in the world, Mexico City is contending with issues of urban densification and the shortage of adequate affordable housing; issues particularly relevant to Australia’s fastest growing metropolitan area, Brisbane city. Brisbane is under particular pressure to accommodate its increasing population given its long history of low density urban sprawl and with the population estimated to reach 3.75m by 2026; an influx of 1.05m people. With housing already in short supply Brisbane will also contend with the issue of densification. It is therefore expected that the proposed program will provide insight into some of the environmental and socio‐cultural issues currently being experienced in Mexico with application to the Brisbane context.”

Image: Lauren Hickling, Queensland University of Technology