The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced a Mirvac design team as the winner of its 2018 Urban Innovation Ideas Competition for young professionals and students. 

This year’s competition requested innovative ideas to rejuvenate the north-west corner of the Melbourne CBD, bound by La Trobe, William, Bourke and Spencer streets. 

Winning submission ‘Reflective Lane’ by Bohan Jones, HJ Yoon, Will Cai and Linda Lin from Mirvac proposed a targeted public arts program in selected laneways that would seek to enrich the subject area and bring different community areas together by showcasing local stories and artistic responses with a range of social, cultural and ecological themes. 

A particular focus of the winning proposition was the facilitation of experiential connection beyond Australian shores, highlighting Melbourne’s diverse cultural fabric.

According to ULI Australia executive director and jury chair David McCracken, Reflective Lane stood out for its ability to positively impact the area, which currently lacks activity and excitement, by offering new experiences. 

“The jury saw design-based propositions from the majority of entrants, but the winners took an experienced-based approach to enliven and enrich through stories and connections,” he says.

“This submission stood out because it shows a singular cultural and creative approach to changing the experience and perception of this area. It recognised the power of creative activity, supporting artists’ place in their own communities and building international connectivity through the process.

“The concept of Reflective Lane would uplift the community and create value to the urban fabric, highlighting the positive impact of arts and culture on cities and precincts. [It] stood out in emphasising that change was not just affected by urban design and built form but by the programming and activation you can apply within the built form.”

The members of Reflective Lane received $2,000 and will partake in a trip to Shanghai to present their proposal at the ULI 2019 Asia Pacific Conference.

The two other finalists were ‘Welcome to Melbourne’ – Fabian Culican, Kavita Sonar, Shelley Black and Simon Zhao from Tract Consultants and ‘Mixed Collectivo’ – Lindy Huang, a student at University of Melbourne; and Marc Schmailz, a student at Technical University of Munich. The submission ‘Mixed Collectivo’ was awarded the prize for best student entry at the conclusion of Stage 1 of the Competition in late September.  

The popular vote winner was also announced, as decided by the public, and was awarded to ‘Celebration: Park, Street, Laneway’ comprising University of Hong Kong students Wong Lap Man, Kam Destiny and Kwong Yuk Chun.