For a startup only 18 months in age, in October 2015, Shiro Architects joined an exclusive club when it competed on the basis of design excellence in Parramatta, NSW, in a paid, invitation-only design competition hosted by Parramatta City Council.
The contest was to design what would become a 23-storey mixed commercial and residential tower on the city’s edge, at 5-7 Parkes Street, to be developed by the well-established western Sydney developer, Dyldam Developments.
If only a small number of architectural practices ever gets invited to participate in a significant design competition, it is a considerably smaller group that gets paid a handsome fee to do so.
Fewer still participate on the basis of their own design excellence for a major urban site under the sponsorship of its local metropolitan authority.
As such, we’ve now joined that select club. As underdogs, we were late entrants on the ticket against two other extremely well-established and well-known firms, one of which, having already designed the masterplan on which the competition was based, then took the honours.
Ok, Shiro might not have won. Yet, in a competition ultimately decided by a council jury, Shiro’s principal architect, Hiromi Lauren, once again proved her ability to get a better yield on built space than a majority of designers.
In her hands, Shiro Architects’ submission comfortably exceeded the requirements of the brief by designing in 173 apartments on a challenging site, against a requirement for only 150 units.