The jury was unanimous in awarding the 2019 BlueScope Steel Glenn Murcutt Student Prize to Sobi Slingsby of Griffith University for her project on Lady Elliot Island.
Sobi’s scheme is a beautifully considered architectural response to the anticipated impact of climate change and sea-level rise on a coral cay at the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef. The proposal is for a group of shelters, both on land and over the water, that provide the essential needs of human habitation. The land-based structures are kept below the treetops, while those on the water are raised on sturdy foundations and imagined to foster new coral growth as the coral cay adapts to climate change.
The natural world is not static – the shelters can be tuned to suit different climatic conditions and adverse weather to capture breezes, offer shade and withstand the extremes of tropical cyclones. The technologies are simple and direct, providing an experience akin to camping. Their small footprint and elevated platforms evoke the childhood pleasures of the treehouse with views over the island, surrounding reefs and ocean.
All aspects of the scheme have been carefully considered and are illustrated with outstanding drawings, eloquent narrative and refined imagery.
Paul Berkemeier LFRAIA (Chair) – Paul Berkemeier Architect
Brit Andresen LFRAIA – Emeritus Professor, University of Queensland
Gina Engelhardt – President, SONA, Australian Institute of Architects