PhD student shortlisted for prestigious competition

18 June 2010

Michael Zanardo, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Architecture Design and Planning, has lead of a small team that has been shortlisted for the prestigious Proposition 2065 competition. Michael, who is the principal of Studio Zanardo co-authored the entry with Shaun Carter of Carterwilliamson Architects. Michael is also a design tutor in the Master of Architecture program at the Faculty. Lisa Merkesteyn (a recent Sydney University Master of Architecture graduate) and Patrick Fitzgerald assisted with the entry.

As a small team of architects competing against a number of large firms, Michael was surprised but delighted. Being shortlisted "...was a great feeling. When we were talking through our idea for the competition, we thought we were on to a good thing. We are very happy that the jury agreed."

He continues, "The competition called for a commercial office development on a large residual site next to the train station in St Leonards, but we thought that the competition site was too big to address through architecture alone. We proposed an urban design strategy thatstitched the site into its context witha strong public domain; that was our emphasis. We also employed a rich mix of uses, including affordable housing, which would work to activate the site. It wasn't really one big idea; it was many complimentary city-making concepts at several scales that gave our scheme its richness. The competition was a fantastic opportunity for us to test our ideas about making an 'urban project', that is, how to make a vibrant and meaningful intervention in the city in response to a specific context.It feels fantastic to have been recognised for having taken this approach."

While being shortlisted is a great compliment, the work is only just beginning in some respects, as Michael outlines, "Stage two runs for six weeks. We submit the second stage in mid-July and then wait and see. The shortlist results will be published in AR in August. Being a small team, we will have to be strategic about how we handle the second stage. We won't have unlimited resources at our disposal."

Michael is currently in his third year of his doctorate and is investigating architectural typologies of early examples of affordable housing in the City of Sydney. "My research is looking at projects like the High Street Flats in Millers Point, the Strickland Buildings in Chippendale, and Ways Terrace in Pyrmontto see what might be learnt from them to inform the design of new affordable housing today."

The final results of the competition will be announced in October. For more details, please see

Contact: Jonathan Hulme

Phone: 02 9351 2686

Email: 0d073839432f370d6931141b0f2d0a3b48560b171d43504f3a412634