Designing a bright future for Geelong

Thursday, 24 October 2019

A group of Deakin University students have reached the finals of the Victorian Premier’s Design Awards with their vision of a thriving, sustainable Geelong. 

Vital Signs – Alternative Futures imagines Geelong 80 years from now, where residents enjoy a Mediterranean Riviera climate. 

The future city is cooled by abundant green roofs made accessible by commuter drones, living green facades, parasols covering city blocks, and over 10 hectares of urban agriculture. 

Anticipating sea level rise, Vital Signs sees the city embracing Corio Bay. Future resilient and non-corrosive building materials make it possible for Geelong’s Hoddle Grid streets to extend into the bay with underwater living spaces.

Deakin School of Architecture and Built Environment students Jarrod Argent, Tom Barker, Jack Hirini, Julie Pham and Blake Sipek collaborated with the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Gallery and Geelong Regional Library Corporation to develop their bright vision for Geelong’s future.

Vital Signs demonstrates how creativity can help us find new solutions to challenges we face and make life better for everyone in our community. It celebrates Geelong’s recognition as a UNESCO City of Design and Deakin’s status as a City of Design Champion.

The project is a finalist in four award categories:

  1. student design
  2. digital design
  3. design strategy and
  4. communication design.

It is the only entry to be selected in more than two categories.

Reclaimed product retailer The Reimaginarium, another City of Design Champion, is also a 2019 finalist in the design strategy category.

Award winners will be announced on Thursday 21 November 2019.


Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor

Congratulations to Jarrod, Tom, Jack, Julie and Blake on reaching the finals of the Premier’s Design Awards – what an outstanding achievement.

The clever and creative design thinking used by these students is exactly what we’re hoping to see more of as we plan for Geelong’s future and build our reputation as a UNESCO City of Design.

With Geelong’s population growing, the world changing and new challenges emerging, we’ll need this kind of creative thinking to make sure our region remains a great place to live well into the future.


Tom Barker - Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment student

The opportunity of working with City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Gallery, Geelong Library and Deakin, to avert dystopia by exploring future possibilities and breaking through technological frontiers for the city, was an invigorating, exciting and eye-opening experience.


Julie Pham - Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment student

The ambition of Deakin, City of Greater Geelong and the other parties involved to nurture local talent with an eye to shaping the short and longer-term futures of their home city is a great development. It’s exciting to see Geelong beginning to develop at a level unseen in recent times.


Jason Smith - Director and Chief Executive Officer - Geelong Gallery

Geelong Gallery was delighted to work with the Deakin University students on the Vital Signs project. 

Displayed at the Gallery to coincide with Melbourne Design Week 2019, the project encapsulated alternative, possible, and plausible design futures for Geelong. 

The students’ experimentation of different ‘what if?’ scenarios and future visions relating to Central Geelong and the town centres of Belmont and Waurn Ponds presented next to our cornerstone artwork, Eugene von Guérard’s View of Geelong 1856, reflected the dramatic transformation of our surrounding landscape over the past 160 years and what the future may hold for our region. 

Our visitors were challenged to think about these important questions as they engaged with the project.


Deb Sansom - Executive Manager - Cultural Development and Community Engagement, Geelong Regional Library Corporation

As a key Geelong destination, we were delighted to host Vital Signs at the Geelong Library & Heritage Centre and to provide an interface between the public and the important work Deakin students are undertaking as part of making Geelong’s design aspirations a reality.





Page last updated: Thursday, 24 October 2019

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