Griffith University Architecture students Rory Pope and Kate De Pina have taken out the top two prizes in the annual and highly regarded 9Dots Award for creative design.

Run by Australian building product and design firm CSR Cemintel, the 9Dots Award features professional and student categories and this year challenged participants to design a multi-residential subdivision using Cemintel’s Creative Product range.

The brief was to rethink the traditional quarter-acre block by offering creative solutions to issues such as affordable housing, dwelling size, infill development and density.

Project requirements included a maximum of five dwellings on the proposed site, a minimum of three dwelling types and the provision of common spaces, open garden space, storage areas and parking.

Second-year students based at Griffith’s Gold Coast campus, Rory’s winning entry was notable for its imaginative take on space and function, while Kate’s submission was commended for blending residential practicality and opportunities for communal growth.

“For my design I decided to gather all the functional aspects of a home into one area,” says Rory.

“Rather than the traditional home in which bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, the kitchen and so on are spread about the house, by bringing them into one extended area it opens up the rest home, creating a great space that in turn leads to other options for usage, lighting and design.

“I enjoy the way architecture can be applied to challenge and change the built environment and to give people something they can inhabit and something in which they can interact.”

Kate’s design also favouredacompact approach in relation to dwelling interiors, then expanded upon the notion of community through shared spaces and other means of interaction.

“I think that by providing those kinds of shared spaces, people can have the best of both worlds,” she says.

“There is privacy in the individual dwellings as well as the opportunity to enjoy a community atmosphere by bringing residents together.”

Senior Lecturer in Architecture Dr Henry Skates says the kind of adaptive thinking required for success in the 9Dots Award is an important part of the architecture program at Griffith.

“Architects need to think intuitively and imaginatively about materials, space, difficult sites and other challenges,” says Dr Skates.

“The conceptual thinking demonstrated in both Rory’s and Kate’s work shows how architectural creativity can turn bold ideas into reality and add value to buildings through innovation.”