UNSW Built Environment: Emerging Architect Prize

14 04 2011

The New South Wales  Emerging Architect Prize is now open for entry. The prize recognises an emerging architect’s outstanding contribution to architectural practice, education, design excellence and community involvement.

The winner of the NSW prize will receive a certificate, an invitation to the awards ceremony, public recognition including the opportunity to give a talk at Sydney Design 2011 and will be eligible for the national prize which will be presented at the 2012 Australian Achievement in Architecture Awards. Nominees can be self nominated or nominated by a third party.

If you are a member of the Australian Institute of Architects, a registered Architect and have graduated in the last 15 years you are eligible to enter.

For full details of eligibility and submission requirements please visit the Emerging Architect Prize Entry Page

Entries close 12 May 2011.





UNSW Built Environment: Ken Maher named one of Sydney’s most influential people

9 02 2011

UNSW Built Environment congratulates Ken Maher – esteemed architect, UNSW Alumnus, Professor and Chair of the Faculty’s Advisory Council – for being named in the Top 100 Most Influential People in Sydney for 2010 by the Sydney Morning Herald’s the (sydney) magazine. He was acknowledged as a leader who is “of critical importance to what will happen over the next two decades.”

Ken Maher is a leading Sydney based architect and is Executive Chairman of HASSELL: Australia’s largest international multidisciplinary design practice involved in major urban projects throughout Australia and Asia.

Maher won the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 2009 and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ top award in 2010 – making him the only architect to have been recognised with both awards.

Please click here for more information on Professor Maher and his achievements.





UNSW Built Environment: In Memoriam – Kevin Rice, 1932-2011

13 01 2011

We are sad to to report that highly acclaimed architect Kevin Rice has recently passed away.

Rice was one of UNSW’s first Alumnus members, graduating with honours in architecture in 1955. He went on to become a great architect, working on notable Sydney high-rise buildings, including the Queen Victoria Building, the HSBC Tower in George Street, the Zenith Centre in Chatswood and the Sacred Heart Hospice in Darlinghurst.

Rice served as President of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects from 1986 to 1988, and was An associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. He also received anAlumni Award from the University of NSW in 1988.

In 2004, Rice was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to architecture.

Our thoughts are with Kevin Rice’s family at this time. If you are interested in reading more about Rice and his achievements, please refer to the below article featured in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Sydney Morning Herald – Architect helped to develop and preserve Sydney





UNSW Built Environment Alumnus: Andrew J Wiener MArch, MBuiltEnv (SustDev) on Lord Richard Rogers

28 09 2010

“Architecture transforms the ordinary by giving order, scale and beauty to space.”

Lord Richard Rogers spoke about architecture and the city at UNSW Monday night. He talked about some of his own work, but he elaborated on his philosophy about the built environment through some of his own case studies in cities like Barcelona, Paris, Shanghai, London, New York and now Sydney.

Roger’s (Stirk Harbour + Partners) ideas have brought significant change to cities – and presently his leadership in the Barangaroo development- an ‘air craft carrier’ sized parcel of land between the CDB and a part of the Sydney Harbour just around from the Harbour Bridge – could potentially shift the way the world sees Sydney – occasionally. Presently, the derelict Barangaroo parcel of land interferes with what Rogers would call the most essential aspect of the city: meeting of people.

Images of Sydney typically show the vivid blue harbour and the white sails of the Opera House pointing back and forth from the city to the water. Focus on the city’s skyline inevitably and deliberately begins at the top of the Centre Point Tower steps up Sir Normal Foster’s Deutsche Bank building to many of the taller buildings in the CBD including Renzo Piano’s Auroura Place and JPW’s Macquarie Tower. In the plan for the development of Barangaroo that Rogers discussed, the harbour would be brought into the CBD from the east edge of the city as well so that the buildings in the development naturally become an integrated part of Sydney. A foreshore park will connect the development to the finger wharfs of Walsh Bay under the Harbour Bridge to the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Opera House, the Domain and Wooloomooloo. A fan of three building complexes fronted by a new hotel will sit lower than the CBD skyline. The entire built development has a podium to scale at the people-level where taller buildings tiptoe above into the airspace.

Not many Tourism Australia photos are taken from the ‘back’ of the city where an abandoned shipping port blocks a modern city from the water. But now, could ‘come to Australia’ images show the Opera House actually sitting behind the city if Barrangaroo is to become such a vibrant, active and accessible part of the fabric of the city? Of course, the water of the great harbour will always come first – but if properly executed, the development could become the new gateway from which the world enters Sydney – almost symbolically.

Sydney is only one on a list of some of the world’s greatest cities in which Rogers has worked and helped shape urban development. In Barcelona, which Rogers referred to as the ‘best built city’, he helped reconnect the city to water serving as an advisor to the city’s mayor. In Shanghai, his advice was sought for the Pudong Masterplan where a key element in the proposal was to create a grand central park from which all development would radiate. In New York City, Rogers is the architect of Tower 3 in the World Trade Center redevelopment project. In Paris he is helping Sarkozy mark his stamp on the city by devising a way to minimise the impact of intrusions to the centre through radial transport development plans.

And Paris is a city in which Rogers made his own stamp nearly 30 years ago. He and Renzo Piano looked to the city of Venice as an example where the Doges Palace and the Piazza San Marco created an ‘explosion’ in the compactness of the urban landscape. The Centre Pompidou, now the most visited building in Europe, accomplished the same type of ‘explosion’. Half of the site is an large open piazza where people gather, meet, watch performers, and participate in Paris’ socio-cultural realm.

Rogers ended his talk with a suggestion for education that especially appealed to me as a former architecture student. He advocated combining architecture, planning and landscape architecture degrees because the student fully trained in all three disciplines would undoubtedly emerge with a deeper and more extensive working knowledge of the built environment and urban development.





UNSW Built Environment Event: Utzon 2010 Lecture Series

10 08 2010

Tomorrow night is the next installment in the UNSW Utzon lecture series “E-waste designing out obsolescence” by Dr Miles Park. Click here to register!

Products normally described as ‘consumer durables’ are now often regarded as ‘consumables’. The lifespans for many consumer electronics, notably personal computers and mobile phones, is now often measured in months and not years. Each year approximately 17 million televisions and computer related products reach their end of life. Last year we bought 2.4 million new computers and sent 1.6 million old computers to landfill. In addition 800,000 were put into storage while there are an estimated 14-16 million unused or broken mobile phones hidden in desks and drawers across the country. This electronic waste or e- waste is growing at three times the rate of other categories of municipal waste. As these discarded products breaks down, dangerous toxins leach into the groundwater, contaminating soil, waterways and ultimately our health. For example, a standard sized cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor contains more than two kilos of lead. What is being done to tackle this complex global problem? What has been the role of the designer in the making of the e-waste crisis and where are the opportunities and solutions for solving this crisis?

Also, check out Professor Robert Freestone’s packed out lecture “Urban Nation: Australia’s planning heritage”





UNSW Built Environment Alumni: Minu Lee in Korea

6 05 2010

I must admit, coming to Korea has been one of the biggest transformations to date.

Last month in Seoul was the coldest in 100 years and this month was the worst in 40 years, crazy stats.

It wasn’t all weather though. Coming to a new country, new university, new home, have all contributed to a brand new experience.

Apartment living is the norm here, where house means apartment. I live on the 11th floor at the southern part of Seoul, a metropolitan city that is divided by a long river (Han river) that stretches east to west, out onto the Yellow Sea. The house is obviously smaller than what I had back in Pymble, no corridors, no rumpus, no separate dining room, smaller kitchen and smaller room; but I seemingly had no problems at all adjusting to my new home. The fact that I no longer have my brother next to me probably played a big factor in adapting to a smaller house. He is back in Sydney, working during the day and doing the masters program at night.


Poor bro. It’s the first time he’s been on his own now that my parents are back in Seoul with me. As much as I consider myself lucky in that respect, I still don’t get to see them a lot throughout the day. This leads me on to my university life 🙂

The masters program in architecture at Seoul National University requires students to be at the university every working day from 10am till 6pm. It is very rare for me to leave at 6pm due to ongoing projects that I am part of. With regular seminars and design studio finishing late, I would get home around 10-11 most nights.

10 academics majoring in architecture each have their own research lab with distinct specialisations; architectural design, history and theory, Korean traditional architecture, environmental sustainability, urban design, architectural urban space and so on. I applied for a professor who runs the research lab called ‘Lab for Architectural Urban Space‘.

The lab has 20 researchers including masters and PhD students and is the second biggest lab in terms of research works and members. The lab was established in 1999 and conducts researches into spatial analysis, interpretation of architectural and urban space from social and cultural perspectives, and design and maintenance of educational facilities.


I’m only touching the surface at this stage; using the visual access and exposure model to analyse different types of space, learning to read and understand axial maps and so on. Looking into a more quantitative side of analysis into architecture and urban design is interesting also.

In all, the masters program, for me, consists of 3 separate works. First are the courses that I have to take each semester, as I have done throughout my time at UNSW. This includes a design studio, and two other faculty electives. Second is a study that I have to do on my own, related to space syntax, as well as other researches related to the field. The outcome of this study is a written thesis at the end of the program.

Third work is what I have spent most of my time on since I started the semester. It’s essentially carrying out the projects that my professor gets, as a team. There are 5 different projects running at the moment, and my team was allocated to work on organising an international design competition for a new social housing complex in Seoul. Some projects that the lab gets relate to the realm of spatial analysis and some don’t. This project obviously has no relation as it is about starting up the competition, organising briefs, setting guidelines, hosting design presentations, inviting external jurors, participants and so on.

The project is in collaboration with the government so the load is not as heavy as it sounds. As the only member of the lab to speak decent English, my main role is to translate the competition documents, organise QnA sessions, and communicate with overseas jurors and participants through mail and phone. As well as the domestic competitors, overseas participants for this competition are Riken Yamamoto from Japan, Architekten Cie and MVRDV from the Netherlands.

I have had quite a few experiences working part time back in Sydney, but working on something of this magnitude is definitely new and exciting. The work is fun as I get a chance to practice my Korean, and get paid for it at the same time!! It’s not a lot, but enough to make up a big portion of my university fee.

I am looking forward to working on other projects later on that would especially help my portfolio.

One thing I was quite surprised at was the amount of exposure that this university gets from overseas. I was going through some of the projects conducted by this lab previously and came across Jon Lang’s profile. He was here last year as an external panel for another housing competition in Korea.
Last week I was asked by the Korean Architectural Accrediting Board to go to the airport to greet Paul Berkemeier who arrived here few days ago to oversee the architectural education system as well as the accrediting board. I knew him as an architect but didn’t realise he taught at UNSW, so I was pleasantly surprised. We had a long chat from the airport to the hotel where I was supposed to check him in and it was great fun. It has been a while since I spoke to someone who can speak Australian, and not in broken American accent which seems to be the norm here so thumbs up!

The photos I attached are of Seoul National University, which is situated on a mountain within the metropolitan. Department of Architecture (building 39), which as part of the engineering faculty, is situated on the higher part of the mountain so it’s chillier than downtown Seoul, but has great scenery and better air quality. 🙂  You can see my lab and the desktop image on my computer which shows how much I miss home, despite all the fun I’m having here.





UNSW Built Environment Alumni: Griffen Manan(BIA 09) DIA Grad of the Year

22 03 2010

Hi All,

It’s me again and this time I am writing this blog as a graduand….and….I’ve got some news that I want to share with you all!! Some of you might know, but for those who don’t – I have just received the Design Institute of Australia’s (DIA) Graduate of The Year Award (GOTYA) in the category of Interior Design. Anyway, I thought I’d share this milestone with you all and the process that I had to go through that won me this award………


At the end of 2009, I was nominated to enter the DIA GOTYA. As a nominated student, I was required to submit three A2 panels that showcase the best of my design abilities. I decided to enter three projects which I produced in both third and fourth year, (i.e. Urban Elegance, The Florist and of course my final graduation project, 27zero – Surry Hills Fire Station – See images below). The reasons why I chose these projects is because each design showcases different sets of skills and each project was designed using different approach.

Towards the end of January 2010, I was informed that I got into the final three in my category (together with Trent Schatzmann – who came second – and another student from Enmore), which means that I had to attend round two of the judging process. So at the beginning of February, I had to opportunity to present the three projects to a panel of 7 judges from the full range of design disciplines. 15 minutes – that was all I’ve got to present the work as well as answering questions from all of the judges. I must say it was one of the most nerve-wracking presentations I have ever done. Although I was a bit nervous at the beginning, I believe I answered every single one of their questions with confidence and everything went smoothly at the end.
After all of the judging process was all over, all of the finalists then had to wait for another month to find out who has won the award and on the 10th March, the winner, runner-ups and third-placers was announced at Stylecraft Showroom and it was then that I found out that I came first in the interior design category! And this is what the judges had to say:

Interior Design:- Griffen Manan

Griffen Manan was selected as the winner of the Interior Design category of GOTYA because he showed outstanding skills in his chosen field. His Apartment project highlighted his strong planning and detailing abilities as well as showing great skill in lighting the project with clever concealed lighting. Griffen’s presentation of his Surry Hills fire station included many of his design sketches which showcased his strong design skills in both planning, space creation and project detailing. Griffen also showed good understanding of the building services and displayed great knowledge on passive cooling and heating. His presentation skills were excellent and his drawing effectively communicated both his thought process and his finished design.

All of Griffen’s designs displayed a thorough knowledge of materials and finishes and displayed good use of these to help embellish his spaces.

We congratulate Griffen on an outstanding presentation and wish him well with his career.


Overall, it was a great experience and I couldn’t have been happier to come out of it with the first prize and the title Graduate of the Year – something that I will proudly take with me in my future endeavours.  Before I end this blog, I would like to take this opportunity to thank several people for their continued assistance and patience during the four years of my studies….

Firstly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my parents and brother and to all members of my family for their valuable advice and guidance throughout my four years of studies. My sincere thanks are due to all the lecturers and tutors whom I have the opportunity to work with. It is with their rigorous supervision and persistent help that I was able to achieve what I have achieved. I am also deeply thankful to all my friends for their valuable assistance and encouragement which made everything possible.

And last but not least….I would like to congratulate to Trent Schatzmann for coming second!

Trent and I

Trent and I

Anyways, I think I need to wrap this up – to get more information about me, please visit: www.griffenmanan.com and to read more about the DIA GOTYA and the overview of all the winners visit: http://www.stylecraft.com.au/News-18.aspx and http://www.design.org.au/content.cfm?id=307