Architecture student with capital designs

Griffith University architecture student, John Kurko, has been selected for the final of an international competition to design a hypothetical new capital for Australia. John is one of 20 shortlisted finalists, competing for up to $100,000 worth of prizes in the CAPIThetical International Design competition. The challenge has attracted 110 entries from 24 countries. It also marks 100 years since the original call for designs to build our nation’s capital.

Hailing from the Gold Coast, it comes as no surprise John has elected to place his hypothetical city by the sea.

“The original concept for our nation’s capital was for it to be a seaport so it’s nice to be able to reconnect with that, and feel part of the dialogue that started at Federation,” John said. “I also think the Australian community has a real affinity with the coast; it resonates with us,” he said.

The third year architecture student was encouraged to enter the competition after Griffith University offered it as an elective subject. As the competition is still underway, John can’t give away too many details of his CAPIThetical design, but he has been influenced by indigenous culture.

And now looking ahead to post-graduate studies, John is still drawing on our nation’s heritage for inspiration. He intends to enrol in the new Master of Architecture degree program which will be offered by Griffith University for the first time from 2013.

“As part of my Masters studies I would like to tap into Aboriginal culture and heritage so as to understand more about indigenous land care practices,” John said.

“There are a lot of lessons to be learned there by architects who are designing for a sustainable future,” he said.

The mature-aged student was taking care of unfinished business when he returned to study to pursue a career in architecture. “When I was in school it had always been my ambition to be an architect, but somehow I ended up working as a manager in public health” John said.

“Eighteen years after I left school, I decided it was now or never”, he said.

Getting into the finals of the CAPIThetical International Design competition is a pretty good indicator John has made the right decision. Final submissions are due later this year with the winning entry announced and exhibited early in 2013 to coincide with Canberra’s 100th birthday.

John will also be a guest speaker at the Architecture Information Evening being held at the Griffith University Gold Coast campus on June 5, 2012.

More information on our architecture information evening can be found at