The Ideas on Edge Competition / University of Queensland's School of Architecture


The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Architecture has proven again that the creative skills developed in its design studios are truly award winning. Graduating from UQ’s Master of Architecture program in 2010, Rick Hill and Josh Spillane, along with 3D graphic artist Leon McBride, recently submitted one of three winning designs in an international competition to redesign the Parramatta foreshore in New South Wales. Mr Hill said that the Ideas on Edge competition coordinated by the Parramatta City Council provided the perfect opportunity to put the skills they learnt in the masters design studio to the test.

“The Ideas on Edge competition allowed people from all over the world to submit an innovative and creative design for the development of a site on the Parramatta foreshore which covers 2.2 hectares. This was an opportunity to explore a project that considered alternatives to continued sprawl in a climate of rising energy and production costs and to deal with aspects of environmental, economic and community sustainability,” Mr Hill said.


The winning design submitted by Mr Hill, Mr Spillane and Mr McBride entitled Vertical Farming and Laneway Jetties was awarded for its innovative design and its ability to reduce transportation costs. “Our proposal for the site focused on an architectural typology that established a set of relationships between the architecture, the site and the surrounding neighborhood. We wanted to draw upon the qualities of the site’s environment, and respond to its social and economic context rather than relying on a specific and resolved architectural form. We believe this leaves the idea of the “vertical farm” and the “laneway jetty” flexible yet tangible as a future design seed,” Mr Spillane said.

Mr McBride said that the flexibility of the proposal was reinforced through the visual representation of the scheme. By using a subtly abstract aesthetic, the illustrations clearly explained the team’s intent without subscribing to a particular direction. The aesthetic choice also allows viewers to easily relate to and engage with the overall scheme. During the design process we made extensive use of 3D modeling techniques to explore variants of the scheme which allowed us to make rapid decisions on the future direction of the project,” Mr McBride said.

Director of the Master of Architecture program, Associate Professor Peter Skinner said that the Vertical Farming and Laneway Jetties was notable for its creative approach to a complex urban setting and the clarity of the design thinking.

“The fact that two UQ graduates have won this competition just months after graduating is a reflection on the great Architecture program offered to students at UQ. All three of the awardees have very bright futures ahead and I look forward to seeing where they might lead,” Associate Professor Skinner said.

Architect: University of Queensland’s School of Architecture, Rick Hill, Josh Spillane, Leon McBride

competition board

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Cite: Christopher Henry. "The Ideas on Edge Competition / University of Queensland's School of Architecture" 25 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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