Holdmark Innovation Award

Powerhouse Initiative
Holdmark x Powerhouse
Powerhouse is delighted to partner with Holdmark to celebrate the future-focused Australian practitioners responsible for the structures and spaces that frame our everyday interactions – from large-scale civic places to intimate personal domains. We are looking for ambitious, inventive, outstanding projects that showcase the best-in-class within the industry.
Lisa Havilah, Chief Executive Officer, Powerhouse

The annual Holdmark Innovation Award recognises Australian projects that demonstrate excellence and innovation in architecture or engineering in the built environment.

Established in 2023 with generous support from Sydney Design WeekInternal link icon Principal Partner Holdmark Property Group, the Award aims to raise the profile of Australian design and architecture practitioners around the world. The annual winner receives a $10,000 cash prize and opportunities to be showcased in Powerhouse programs.

Practices working in architecture, engineering, urban design or planning are invited to enter a project completed in Australia during the previous calendar year. Projects may be defined as an entire building or built structure, or a key element in a building’s design, structural engineering, construction or integrated systems.

Applications for the award are reviewed by a selection committee featuring representatives from Holdmark Property Group, Powerhouse Museum and industry experts, with a strong focus on innovation and broader benefits including environmental, social or economic. The annual winner is announced by Holdmark at the opening of Sydney Design Week in September each year.

2023 Recipients

The project PHIVE – Community, Cultural and Civic Hub by DesignInc Sydney with Lacoste+Stevenson and Manuelle Gautrand Architecture was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Holdmark Innovation Award.


The red rooftop of Phive, featuring small undulations, that create a wavey pattern across the building.
The selection committee agreed that PHIVE by DesignInc Sydney with Lacoste+Stevenson and Manuelle Gautrand Architecture has created a vital civic hub for Parramatta, which the local communities have actively embraced as their own. Its ingenious rooftop design and passive climate strategies make it a worthy recipient of the inaugural Holdmark Innovation Award.
Keinton Butler, senior curator – Design and Architecture, Powerhouse

Project Summary

Boardroom in geometric and spacious room

PHIVE delivers much needed community space for Parramatta. It is the new cultural and civic heart, providing world-class community and cultural experiences, state-of-the-art library and council chambers. Engaging and connecting with Parramatta Square, it is an urban living room – a place to meet, exhibit and explore. The design has a social and sustainability agenda at its core.

PHIVE’s distinctive playful shape is sculpted within a shadow plane, protecting solar access to the public square. The building’s envelope opens to views and light; a sustainable three-dimensional skin protecting the interior from heat and glare by self-shading its windows .

The building features facilities for local First Nations communities, managed by the local Traditional Custodians. The Dharug community manages the ‘Dharug Room’, ‘Keeping Place’ and research laboratory. The laboratory is humidity controlled for storing artefacts.

Construction of PHIVE followed the Waste Minimisation and Management Act 1995 to manage waste at the site during excavation and construction works. The design used strategies to improve resilience and adaption to climate change events through the Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP), which was created by LCI Engineers to address climate context, projections and the relevant risks to the building (flood, drought, fire).

The project includes strategies to protect, support and regenerate the site’s ecology including internal and external planting areas irrigated with harvested rainwater and using WSUD strategies.

PHIVE cantilevers into the square, providing protected areas which fulfill the Parramatta Square masterplan and pedestrian strategy to provide all-weather circulation areas through the Square.

PHIVE has been designed for passive thermal comfort with the use of small spaces, study pods, natural ventilation, blinds, actuated louvres. Renewable energy technology has been used to reduce the operational carbon footprint of PHIVE resulting in a low reliance on traditional heating and cooling methods.

The distinctive roof form optimises natural ventilation and disperses daylight throughout the building’s interior. Louvres screen the west facing façade and shield the building against solar gain in summer.

The selection of materials and processes considered a wide range of environmental impacts, including but not limited to environmental degradation, embodied carbon and supply chain slavery. PHIVE was subject to a BCA JV3 Report and was designed to qualify for a six-star Green Star rating.

2023 Selection Committee

Kevin Nassif, chief operating officer, Holdmark Property Group
Marni Reti, associate, Kaunitz Yeung Architecture
Hannah Slater, NSW/ACT planning and design lead, Arup
Ninotschka Titchkosky, co-chief executive officer, BVN
Keinton Butler, senior curator – design and architecture, Powerhouse

Application Process

Applications for the 2024 Holdmark Innovation Award open in March 2024.

Applicants must submit a cover letter describing the project; project overview drawings, plans and elevations; and images of the completed project.

Sign up to be notified about 2024 Holdmark Innovation Awards

SubscribeExternal link icon

Holdmark Property Group, under the leadership of Founder and Chief Executive Sarkis Nassif, has committed $10 million towards Powerhouse Parramatta. This remarkable investment will support Sydney Design Week, the establishment of the Holdmark Gallery and a summer school.

As Sydney Design WeekInternal link icon Principal Partner Holdmark presents the annual Holdmark Innovation Award.

Principal Partner



We support and invest in a range of initiatives that sustain industry development and individual creative practice across the applied arts, applied sciences and creative industries.

More Internal link


Careers, volunteer projects, residencies, fellowships, design accelerators and research programs that are currently open.

More Internal link