RMIT architecture students have worked alongside leading industry professionals to win the 2018 LAGI Biennial Competition amid a strong field of international entrants.
A different city has hosted the competition biannually since 2010, with the aim of bringing together designers and thinkers in renewable energy to reflect on how energy infrastructure can be beautiful.
This year’s competition in Melbourne invited teams from around the world to design public art capable of producing clean energy for the St Kilda Triangle.
Victoria aims to have zero carbon emissions by 2050, while Melbourne is targeting net-zero by 2020.
A swooping canopy is the key feature of the project, which is both a power plant and work of art.
Four Master of Architecture students – Bryan Chung, Chea Yuen Teow Chong, Anna Lee and Amelie Noren – were involved in the project as part of a practice research elective led by Martin Heide and Dean Boothroyd of NH Architecture.
Associate Dean, Architecture Professor Vivian Mitsogianni said the University community was excited for students to be part of the team that won the LAGI competition.
“Our students have been able to apply their design practice research skills and learn alongside leading architects and designers to test an idea - a winning idea - that has the potential to make a positive difference to our world,” Mitsogianni said.
“They’ve had a fantastic experience being embedded in contemporary practice to develop research and this is another great example of RMIT embedding industry in everything we do.“
Student Anna Lee said it was great to be part of the winning project.
“The best part was gaining industry experience, so building up more skills, more of an understanding of how competitions work, how a company works and how to win projects,” Lee said.
“It was a team effort that everyone collaborated on. The effort really paid off. I’m really excited about it.”
Fellow student and team member Bryan Chung said the project was unique as it wasn’t just an architecture proposition but also incorporated urban design, clean energy production and sustainable technologies.
“NH Architecture, Ark Resources and RMIT were incredibly supportive of us as students. They shared their expertise and gave us lots of opportunities through the project,” he said.
The St Kilda Triangle is a 20,000 square metre open space on Port Phillip Bay and about 6km from the Melbourne CBD.
The local area has had various incarnations, from a wilderness area inhabited by the traditional owners, the Boonwurrung people, to a wealthy beachside playground in the late 1800s and, more recently, a thriving and eclectic neighbourhood with cafes and restaurants.
Plans for the St Kilda Triangle site have been the subject of much debate and discussion in recent years.
Competition entrants were tasked with superimposing an energy and art design onto a St Kilda Triangle masterplan that has been developed since 2010 in conjunction with the City of Port Phillip and highly-engaged local community.
Each work of public art was designed to produce emissions-free electricity as well as provide a creative educational experience for visitors to the neighbourhood in keeping with the council’s environmental, social, and cultural goals.
Entries for the competition were received from more than 50 countries before a jury short listed 25 designs, including eight from Australia.
The LAGI Biennial Competition has previously been hosted by Dubai/Abu Dhabi, New York Freshkills Park, Copenhagen and Santa Monica.
Story: Amelia Harris