Review: SANNZ 24 hour design competition


Eighty architecture students from across the country gathered in Wellington in late July to compete in the annual SANNZ (Student Architecture Network of New Zealand) 24-hour design competition. The 12 teams received a briefing on Friday, July 23, and worked through the night and the following day, presenting themselves to a three-person jury on Saturday evening.

The event began at the local Wellington brewing bar, Whistling Sisters, where teams were given some inventive challenges to get the creative juices flowing, including designing a cantilevered structure with popsicles and creating a COVID-19 government bunker.

Snapshots of the 2021 24-hour design competition run by the Student Architecture Network of New Zealand (SANNZ).

Then, back at the design studio, the design brief was revealed. Teams were asked to imagine that Wellington’s iconic Cuba Street had lost all its color and collapsed through a portal to an alternate reality. You should develop a vision for this new reality by considering what a day looks like, how people move around, how the political systems work, and what the buildings look like. Each team was assigned a different constraint on imagining their new reality, ranging from edible structures to the ability to just turn left.

Students were given Resene paints, Gordon Harris notebooks, GIB craft knives, a pile of junk, a studio space and, at that point, 19 hours to develop their best alternate realities. Participants worked hard, many didn’t sleep to get fantastic results in everything from physical models and games to videos and paintings.

Snapshots of the 2021 24-hour design competition run by the Student Architecture Network of New Zealand (SANNZ).

The competition ended on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Everyone made their way to the final venue, Bedlam & Squalor, above the legendary Rogue & Vagabond in Te Aro. Each team had five minutes to woo the jury – Senior Lecturer at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture Guy Marriage, Tennent Brown Practice Director Ewan Brown, and President of Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Judi Keith -Brown – and prove his reality was the best.

After the COVID-19 related hiatus last year, it was great to see the design contest back and prove to be as successful as ever. It was incredibly enriching to watch students from all over the country socialize and have their well-deserved fun again. A big thank you goes to our generous sponsors, without whom we would not have been able to run the competition: Thermosash, Red Bull, Gordon Harris, GIB, Resene, Original Foods, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, L’affare and Vic Books. Further information on SANNZ and the organization’s upcoming events can be found at

Congratulations to the winning teams:

1st place – The Stevie ONEderful People: Eva Albiston, VUW; Elise Alexander, Unitec; Henry Craw, VUW; Jennifer Dubowitz, VUW; Isaac Rakich, Unitec

2nd place – Abercrombie: Tessa Barry, VUW; Ricky Frost, VUW; Lily Huang, UoA; Angela Wong, UoA; Max Young, VUW

3rd place – The Holy Trinity: Augustus Galbraith, VUW; Darby Georgeson, VUW; Fin Georgeson, Massey; Arabella Marshall, VUW; Sahil Tiku, UoA; Anthony Washer, VUW


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