As the design tender process for the new Sydney Fish Market comes to a close, Sydney’s architects of the future give us a glimpse of what they’d have proposed for the site.  

The NSW State Government announced plans for the $250-million redevelopment of the market at Blackwattle Bay back in November, which turned out well for UNSW Master of Architecture student, Jun Yi Loh who had already been working on its redesign for his graduate project.

Yi Loh’s design for the market, which incorporates vertical farming, green energy, communal living and closed-loop water filtration systems, will be displayed with those of other students in UNSW’s Graduand Exhibition – Utopia Redux. While some of the projects have incorporated innovative ideas related to the Fish Market and Sydney’s relationship with food production, others have tackled the problems associated with the rapid development and style of apartment complexes springing up in Sydney’s suburbs.

The exterior and interior of Jun Yi Loh’s design

Observing that the degree aims to give students the skills to design and build sustainable, liveable cities, Dean of UNSW Built Environment, Professor Helen Lochhead says the graduating projects provide glimpses into a future where architecture and high performance technologies can improve housing and urban conditions, and help solve the many pressing challenges facing Australian cities through rapid urbanisation.

Jun Yi’s design, for instance, combines the Fish Market with vertical farming and high density living to overcome some of Sydney’s most pressing problems. The design includes a new open-air waterfront market built around tight-knit street patterns with a series of apartment towers rising from the market. Each ‘vertical village’ has access to hydroponic growing spaces, shared kitchens and group dining spaces.

Graduate Vivienne Hinschen is also interested in how food fits into the urban landscape. Inspired by the traditional bazaars of Turkey, her design features a series of floating market squares adjacent to the Fish Market that host farmers’, weekend and special festival markets. The Fish Market itself would be divided into several precincts, incorporating vibrant retail spaces, each specialising in a distinct type of produce and offering intimate spaces that encourage shoppers to talk to retailers about the wares.

Vivienne Hinschen's Sydney Fish Market design

Alison Nobbs, UNSW Architecture tutor and Principal Architect at award-winning architectural firm Nobbs Radford Architects, says the final year of the Master’s program allows students to form their own approach to a design problem.

Though their projects bring together the realities of architecture on complex sites, and all the accompanying technical challenges, the students are able to design unencumbered by planning and legislative requirements.

The exhibition includes designs from the four specialisation streams in UNSW’s Master of Architecture program: High Performance Technology, Housing, Urban Conditions and Social Agency.

The Master of Architecture Graduand Exhibition - Utopia Redux opened on 1 December 2016 and will continue until 13 January 2017 at the UNSW Red Centre Gallery, Randwick Campus.