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2013 SONA Superstudio winners

September 10, 2013

Confronting Boundaries, a project by three University of Melbourne students, wins Superstudio 2013, a 24-hour design competition run by SONA.

Above: Confronting Boundaries by Nicole Henderson, Emily Palmer and Jordan Simcock. “Words and symbols are imposed on buildings that did not achnowledge the original inhabitants. The words highlight the inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and the symbols are drawn from Aboriginal culture.”

Superstudio, the 24-hour student design competition organised annually by SONA, the student arm of the Australian Institute of Architects, has concluded for another year with three students from The University of Melbourne being named the national winners.

Taking place on 2-3 August, this year’s brief, Refuge of Discomfort, asked students to consider opposing notions of physical comfort and social injustice, with a particular emphasis placed on tensions and injustices experienced by Indigenous Australians.

The winning project, Confronting Boundaries by Nicole Henderson, Emily Palmer and Jordan Simcock, featured a series of urban interventions installed in a range of sites throughout Melbourne, including the Royal Exhibition Building, The University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus and Melbourne Women’s Hospital, all of which were chosen for their historical importance to the brief. A series of tape interventions, drawing inspiration from Aboriginal motifs, delineated zones of reflection within which members of the general public were invited to pause and ruminate on cultural differences in attitudes to land ownership and inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Despite their strong visual impact, it was the minimalism of the installations that was praised by the judges. “There is much to be said for a simple yet powerful concept well executed,” Jefa Greenaway, Co-Creative Director of SONA Superstudio 2013 said. “The clarity of thought and engagement was clearly evident and readily explored. It was agreed by the jury that the scheme was a brilliantly transformative form of anti-architecture, which got to the heart of the brief quickly. It tested the idea within the public realm with the most modest of means, with simple thought provoking text mediated through a transformative space – a quietly understated, yet deeply powerful idea,” he stated.

Entries from the University of South Australia’s team of Brett Abroe, Dinko Arar and Luka Basic, and Queensland’s Griffith University team of Cody Mason, Rachel Don and Peter Solberg, were highly commended. Honourable mentions went to University of Sydney’s team Julian Pereira, Graham Sutch and David Da Costa Enes, and University of Adelaide’s Andrew Chaplin, Sean Coughlin and Treshan Angelo De Silva.

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