Design excellence honoured

Design excellence honoured

Australian Urban Design Award

The multi-award winning Prince Alfred Park and Pool has received further praise taking out the prestigious Australia Award for Urban Design for its clever blend of architecture, landscape and design.

The outdoor all-year-round, heated 50m pool and revitalised park received the coveted prize at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra on 14 July 2014 with the judges praising the project for reinvigorating the park and the old pool.

"Originally laid out for large exhibitions in an English style landscape, the park now provides many different elements, from fitness and leisure equipment to children’s play areas with a new spatial and ecological sensibility that is contemporary without erasing its Victorian roots," the winner’s citation said.

It is the third City project to win an Australian Urban Design Award after Sydney Laneways in 2013 and Paddington Reservoir Gardens in 2009. The award was created in 1996 to recognise and encourage top urban design projects in cities, towns and emerging settlements.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore is "thrilled" the 7.5ha site, designed by Neeson Murcutt Architects with Sue Barnsley Design, "has won yet another prize", highlighting the City’s commitment to design and sustainability in community facilities.

“The City has worked hard to attract home grown and internationally recognised design excellence in Sydney, and this Australia Award for Urban Design proves that when it comes to good urban design and innovative architecture, we are on the right track.

"The pool and park is a popular new addition to the community, offering residents and visitors the chance to play their favourite sport or grab a coffee in a sunny, open location. It really is a testament to our commitment to a liveable city by making great public buildings and public spaces," the Lord Mayor said.

Over the past 10 years, City of Sydney projects have won more than 50 national and international design awards.

Excellence in design

The Australian Institute of Architects Awards NSW has recognised the City of Sydney, together with renowned architects, designers and builders, reinforcing our ongoing commitment to delivering great facilities for all our communities. 

Prince Alfred Park Pool

The City, in partnership with Neeson Murcutt Architects, claimed the state’s oldest public architecture prize, the Sir John Sulman Medal, for converting a tired outdoor public pool into a beautiful all-year-round heated aquatic centre. And in July received the coveted Australia Award for Urban Design.

This wonderful centre, which was part of our major upgrade of Prince Alfred Park, and attracts thousands of people every day, also won the Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design. It was also joint winner of the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Prize along with Environa Studio’s renewal of The Wayside Chapel.

Congratulations to representatives from Neeson Murcutt Architects, Sue Barnsley Design and City Design Managers Elizabeth Sandoval and Lisa Dodd, and Project Managers John O’Shea, Damon La’Rance and Andrew Chippindall.

Eternity Playhouse

The project to transform and renew an old Baptist church into an intimate 200-seat theatre was a major endeavour involving Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects and the City’s Design Managers Marcia Morley and Matthew Taylor, and Project Managers Samantha Carroll and Tom Keeler. It has won the Greenway Award for Heritage Architecture. 

Foley Park

The major facelift of Glebe’s Foley Park facilities, including expanded accessibility and sustainability features, earned architects Stanic Harding and City Design Manager Matthew Gribben and Project Manager Michael Woolley the Robert Woodward Award in the Small Project Architecture category.

Prestigious gong for City's design guru

The design director responsible for Sydney's rapidly improving public face has been recognised with a coveted award by the state's architecture body.

Bridget Smyth (pictured) was awarded the Marion Mahony Griffin Prize at the Australian Institute of Architects Awards NSW in June for helping drive the city’s transformation and reinforcing its sustainable future.  

Andrew Boy Charlton Pool, the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre and the City's 230 public artworks stand among the physical tributes to her success integrating public art into the City, its villages, parks, streets, plazas and buildings. 

Bridget's skill choreographing the architects, landscape architects, artists and designers to shape our city and create public spaces for rate payers and visitors alike was recognised in the prize citation.

"Bridget Smyth is a distinguished recipient of this year's Prize and is outstanding for her commitment to improving cities as places for people," the citation read.

"This is demonstrated not only through her public projects but also in her collaborative approach to facilitating countless strategies, master plans and programs focused on urban transformation."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said, "Bridget Smyth has shown outstanding commitment to pursuing design excellence and improving the way our city looks and functions.

"I congratulate her on winning the prestigious Marion Mahony Griffin Prize and thank Bridget and her team for their tireless efforts to make Sydney a better place to live and work," the Lord Mayor said. 

A Harvard-educated design expert, Bridget has been instrumental in the promotion of public art in the urban environment since joining the City of Sydney in 2001.

"We encourage dynamic, lasting legacies in public spaces and it’s an honour to be recognised," she said.

Angel Place

Bridget Smyth

"Our long-term strategic plan, Sustainable Sydney 2030, includes a new civic boulevard for George St, 3 revitalised public squares, and public art in Chinatown, the Cultural Ribbon walk embracing cultural venues along the Sydney foreshore, the Eora Journey and the activation of our city laneways. 

"The strategy also supports major new programs and projects to bring art out of the galleries and into the public domain, into hidden nooks and crannies in the city," she said.

Before joining the City, Bridget was Urban Design Director for the Sydney Olympic Coordination Authority, commissioning and directing the design of venues and public spaces at Olympic Park.  

Previously, she completed a Master in Design Studies (Urban Design) at Harvard after tenure as a senior urban designer for an architectural firm in Boston.

There Bridget worked on the ‘Big Dig’ project to re-route a highway through the city into a tunnel beneath it and reconnect the historic city to its waterfront

The Marion Mahony Griffin Prize

The Marion Mahony Griffin Prize was established in 1998 to acknowledge a woman for a distinctive body of architectural work.    

Chicago-born Griffin graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the early 20th century as one of the first women architects while Chicago sprang up around her. She was also one of the first licensed woman architects in the world.

She was married to fellow architect Walter Burley Griffin and lived and worked in Sydney while he oversaw Canberra’s construction.

Mahony Griffin’s water colour perspectives of Australia’s future capital helped secure first prize in the international competition to plan the city.

Bridget was involved in saving Melbourne’s Capitol Theatre, which was designed, somewhat ironically, by Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin.

At the City, Bridget leads a team of talented architects and landscape architects developing Sydney 2030 and delivering many of the city’s key projects including new public spaces and public art at Green Square and in the city centre. 

Last updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014