K2K Planning Competition (Kensington/Kingsford)

Finetuning a Sydney Suburb’s Future


Winning Entry: ©James Mather Delaney (JMD Design}


Competitions in Australia have become more commonplace than could have become anticipated two decades ago. It was in the early 1990s that Sydney’s mayor, Frank Sartore, decided that competitions could improve on the rather mediocre architecture so prevalent in the city at that time. As a result, major government projects became the subject of design competitions, and a number of notable projects ensued, especially in higher education.


This trend has continued recently with open competitions such as the 2015 Green Square Library competition in Sydney, won by Stewart Hollenstein (https://competitions.org/2015/11/placemaking-to-the-forefront-sydneys-green-square-library-competition) and Australia’s 2014 Gold Coast Precinct Competition (https://competitions.org/2014/09/surfers-paradise-goes-cultural-the-gold-coast-competition), the latter supplemented by an interview with juror, Michael Sorkin (https://competitions.org/2016/05/interview-michael-sorkin-2014-surfers-paradise-precinct-juror).


In July 2016, Randwick City Council launched an international ideas competition for future planning of the Kensington/Kingsford areas of this Sydney suburb. The competition, initiated by Randwick City Council and dubbed K2K, sought ideas for the urban design, strategic direction, sustainable growth and creative transformation of the town centers as they head into a period of significant urban redevelopment. The two precincts, located to the south-east of Sydney’s CBD, will be served by the new light-rail network, which will run along the area’s major road, Anzac Parade, and is due to be operational in 2019.


From an entry pool of 19 submissions, four were shortlisted in August following the conclusion of stage one (expressions of interest) of the competition. The winning team was awarded $120,000, and $140,000 was shared equally among the four shortlisted teams.


The teams were:

  •  JMD Design, Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects and Bennett and Trimble Architects (winner)
  •  Aspect Studios Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, SJB Architects and Urban Design, Terroir Architecture and Urban Planning, SGS Economics and Planning
  •  Coda Architecture and Urban Design, Realm Studios Landscape Architecture, and GTA Transport consultants
  •  JBA Urban Design and Planning, Stewart Hollenstein Architecture and Urban Design, Arcadia Landscape and Natural Systems, The Transport Planning People and Jess Scully


The jury selection process was preceded by an exhibition where the public was allowed to vote on their favorites. That the public favored the JBA Urban Design / Stewart Hollenstein Architecture team as the people’s choice did not deter the jury from unanimously selecting JMD Design, Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects and Bennett and Trimble Architects as the winner.


The jury recognized that the winning team’s design “proposes to re-imagine Anzac parade as a “boulevard punctuated by new civic spaces of intensity.” A key driver of the design is to widen the footpaths along Anzac Parade by 10 meters to create a pedestrian spine, with hundreds of large and small trees along the road. The proposal also includes six new urban centers and a civic space along Anzac Parade, as well as new parklands within walking distance of the main thoroughfare.


The object was to “unlock some of the existing open spaces and make new public spaces available to all to make the area much more liveable” said Philip Thalis, a founding principal of Hill Thalis and member of the winning team. The scheme would also reinstate the Millstream, an existing water system running north–south parallel to Doncaster Avenue, as a green spine.


According to Anton James, a director of JMD Design, “We chose to look beyond the narrow corridor of Anzac Parade, proposing a new public corridor along the alignment of the former Millstream that crosses the civic corridor of Anzac Parade.”


The scheme was selected by an independent jury “for its diverse range of public benefits, including identification of more public spaces as well as considerations regarding the integration of light rail, roads and pedestrian access along Anzac Parade.”


The jury consisted of:

  • Malcolm Snow (National Capital Authority, jury chair)
  • Ben Hewett (NSW Government Architect’s Office)
  • Jennifer Neales (Fred St)
  • Kerry Clare (Clare Design)
  • Tim Greer (Tonkin Zulaikha Greer)


Mayor of Randwick, Noel D’Souza said, “The benefit of the competition is that it allowed us to seek ideas from Australia’s best architects and urban planners to help inform our planning controls for Kensington and Kingsford for the years to come. “Council staff will be reviewing the entries carefully and we’ll use the best and most practical concepts to help inform future planning controls, however Council is under no obligation to use all or any of the ideas.”






Exhibitions and Conferences


No events

Recent Archive Updates

Interview: James Mary O’Connor FAIA (Winter 2017)

After receiving his Diploma in Architecture from the Dublin Institute of Technology and BS in Architecture from Trinity College in Dublin, James received his Masters in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles while a Fulbright Scholar in the U.S. Shortly after his time as a student in Charles Moore’s Master Class at UCLA, he joined the Moore firm in Los Angeles, now Moore Ruble Yudell. Beginning in the late 1980s, he was involved in the firm’s many projects in Germany, many of which dealt with masterplanning and the construction of large housing, primarily in Berlin. Subsequently, he was involved in the Potatisåkern Master Plan & Housing, as well as the Bo01 Housing Exhibition, both in Malmö, Sweden.
James was MRY’s point person in its subsequent involvement with the firm’s many projects in the People’s Republic of China, beginning with their winning competition proposal for the Century Center project in Beijing. Although unbuilt, it didn’t escape the notice of the Chinese, who invited the firm to participate in a competition for the Tianjin Xin-He large neighborhood masterplan—which they won. This was followed by the 2004 Chun Sen Bi An Housing Masterplan competition in the city of Chongqing, located in central China—completed in 2010. This high profile project resulted in a number of affordable and high-end housing projects throughout China. The firm’s most remarkable sustainability project was the COFCO Agricultural Eco-Valley Master Plan project outside Beijing, envisioned to become the first net zero-carbon project of its kind in the world.
In the meantime, the firm’s focus in China has evolved from its concentration on housing to institutional projects, such as the Shanghai University of Technology‘s research buildings. In the meantime MRY has been noted as a leader in the design of campus projects in the U.S. and abroad, as well as numerous government projects—courthouses and embassies.



Interview: James Mary O’Connor FAIA (Winter 2017)

Playing the China Card: The MRY Example



Chun Sen Bi An Housing, Chongqing (competition 2004; completion 2010)


COMPETITIONS: Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY) has had a reputation as an international player since the 1980s. How did you manage to become involved in China?


James O’Connor: We were first invited to take part in a (developer) competition in Beijing in 2002, the Beijing Century Center. We won, but the project was never built. The client was not that serious, and we never got paid. After that, we said that we would never enter another competition in China. But, what turned out to be a real clientele kept after us to participate in one of their projects. After turning them down several times, we finally relented. That was a competition for the Tianjin Xin-he New Town Master Plan and Housing in Tianjin—which we did win.



Chun Sen Bi An perspectives (above)

Chun Sen Bi An Housing Master Plan


COMPETITIONS: Once you have become established in China, it would seem that you almost can pick and choose between competitions and projects.


O’Connor: Right before the time of the Olympics, there were few foreign firms working there so we were interviewing clients as opposed to clients interviewing us. And every time we would go out, we would be involved with another project, or another competition. It all started in kind of a shaky way; but that’s kind of how it evolved.