Winner: Alysia Bennett, Tasmania
Alysia Bennett’s contribution to architecture has been significant – both in her outstanding support for those in the architectural student community and her broader contribution to her local design community. Alysia’s activities have been diverse and sustained over a number of years.
She has undertaken a variety of initiatives which successfully connected students with each other and with local practitioners. As Alysia’s nominee noted, “local architecture societies along with other campus societies … can be quite segregated … with their respective events at times under-attended.” In contrast, Alysia’s collaborative approach has invigorated local events, creating a strong student community environment.
Alysia understands the social and architectural benefits of bridging the gap between students, graduates and architects, and her focus on engaging international students is to be commended. By working with campus societies, Alysia increased the formerly low participation of international students. Indeed, at the recent Launceston Architecture Week event (where she shared the creative direction), international and Australian students attended in equal numbers.
Much of Alysia’s work has gone beyond her role of SONA National President and has included collaboration on design competitions and the graduate exhibition (with the Architecture Student Society), along with published architectural articles. Other events have included the LEGO Design Competition, collaborations including the ArchiForum series (with UTAS), Pictures at the Pub (with the Institute), movie nights, student balls (with the Architecture Student Society) and Super Tuesday.
Not one to slow down, Alysia attended first-year studio as a volunteer mentor during every design class, and she has also been a significant contributor to the creation of a studio culture, a key objective following the relocation of the Architecture School to its new building some two and a half years ago.
The jury looks forward to the next chapter of Alysia’s career and is confident that her leadership and collaboration with the design community, and beyond, will see her contributing to the advancement of architecture for a long time to come.
Commendation: Jacqui Alexander and Tom Morgan, RMIT University
Jacqui Alexander and Tom Morgan have demonstrated commendable leadership in architectural discourse. As editors of the very successful student-initiated magazine POST they have done much to influence the editorial style and have vigorously led a team of students and academics to produce the publication. Jacqui and Tom also co-chair the Process @ Loop seminar series for young or recently graduated architects, presenting a rich array of speakers to stimulate lively debate on architecture. As their nominee noted, “beyond their studentships, they both significantly and generously contribute to the architectural, design and wider communities.”
Jury: Melinda Dodson (chair), Prof. Annabelle Pegrum, Prof. Richard Blythe, Sean McEntee