Recently, SONA (Student Organised Network for Architecture) has had a great uplift in the sense of community of the architectural student body at UNSW as well as nationally, through the increase of student engagement in membership and participation and accomplishment in local and national events in architecture.

Let's not forget the other disciplines in the built environment. A significant factor in the success of signups and events has been the contribution of architecture, interior architecture, computing, and landscape students alike.

Surprised? There must be something rather unique in the air... or it could just be the need for a more prominent studio culture and student community in the faculty of the built environment. So why wouldn't they get involved?

1:1 Re: Claim for 2014 has been a collaborative event that challenges over 100 interdisciplinary participants across architecture, art, landscape architecture and urban design to consider ideas of urban spatial ownership and awareness. It takes place across Australia in every state, every year and has only been growing since its inception in 2011.

It took place in Sydney at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay on the 26th of June this year for NSW/ACT state students, proudly sponsored by UNSW and others and was a great collaborative event where very many UNSW students enjoyed the opportunity to meet and mingle with their fellow design community members and construct at a 1:1 scale.

Pictured: Student team including UNSW Masters student, Nicholas Papas.

Pictured right: Benjamin Vella (Second year UNSW student)

Pictured: UNSW Students Madeleine Whitby (Second Year Architecture) and Bronte Doherty (Third Year Architecture).

Pictured: UNSW Student, Sharon Koshy in her 1:1 team of architects, students and urban planners, including ex-UNSW graduate Sarah Najm.

The participants were briefed to collaboratively design and install an exhibition of spatial objects or portable "Micro-pavilions" out of reclaimed and recycled materials in a single day. They achieved a grand result and many of the pavilions were taken by various community members to be displayed in galleries (such as The Object Gallery on Bourke St, Surry Hills) and university break out spaces in NSW.

You can find more details at:

Superstudio, SONA's second flagship event, was a great success over the 1st-2nd of August 2014, held at the University of Sydney. It is a 24 hour design competition, fostering networking, studio culture and interaction between the architectural profession and the community. In these ways, Superstudio achieves many things that SONA is passionate about.

With a multitude of student participants from UTS, USYD, UNSW, UoN, and UC from a range of year levels (1st year to 2nd year Masters), the results were inspiring and students took conceptual thinking, critique and analysis to a whole new level, all successfully completing the design competition to meet the brief within the 24 hours allocated. This made it almost impossible for the Jury to make a decision of the winners.

Decisions were made and the jury were proud to announce the winners being, UNSW M.Arch students, Demas Rusli, Plini Roessler-Holgate and Jason Goh, taking the NSW/ACT title for SuperStudio 2014 with their outstanding proposal, verbal and graphic presentation. They are now further developing their scheme to compete nationally representing NSW/ACT.

Other second and third year UNSW architecture students should also be commended on their participation, collaboration and proposal of ideas.

Pictured: UNSW Students Demas Rusli, Plini Roessler-Holgate and Jason Goh accepting their prize from the Jury.

Pictured: UNSW Student Amanda Sun (second year architecture) giving her presentation.

SONA has been advocating collaboration in interdisciplinary fields in design through events, raising awareness for student rights and understanding in the workplace, and more importantly how to increase a student's knowledge and networking capabilities through their participation and collaboration.

It is through student participation and collaboration that they increase their understanding in the field, advocate a better architectural studio culture within their university and ultimately, graduate with the uttermost knowledge needed to guide them in the initiation of their career in the built environment. This is what SONA is passionate about, and this is what has been happening.

Next up:

1          David Andersons from Architects without Frontiers will give a lecture on Architects without Frontiers work in Nepal

2          SONA FBE Forum: discussion between students and the faculty academics. More information soon.


Keep up to date with SONA NEWS on

Or more locally, check out the SONAUNSW Facebook page,


Written by Estelle Rose Rehayem,

Edited by Amanda Sun,