The Micro Shines on the World Stage

14 September 2012 The Micro

Gold Coast architects DBI Design and degenhartSHEDD have been recognised for designing some of the best projects across the globe this year after being short listed in the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards, to be announced in Singapore in October.

The firms have been selected for vastly different projects, ranging from macro to micro – literally.

DBI Design made the cut in the ‘completed hotel/leisure’ category for its billion dollar Etihad Towers in the United Arab Emirates, comprising five towers including a Jumeirah hotel, residential apartments, offices, a convention centre and retail space.

At the other end of the scale, degenhartSHEDD was recognised in the ‘future residential’ category for ‘The Micro’, a proposed affordable one bedroom plus study home to be developed on one of the smallest freehold dwelling lots in Australia at Fitzgibbon Chase, northwest of Brisbane, measuring just 45sqm.

A total of 301 entries from 48 countries were shortlisted for the WAF, the world’s largest architecture festival and live awards competition, across nine categories.

degenhartSHEDD director and Australian Institute of Architects Gold Coast and Northern Rivers chair Amy Degenhart, said to have two Gold Coast companies represented among the short list was a great achievement.

“It clearly elevates Gold Coast architecture on to the world stage,” she said.

“Our entry, ‘The Micro’, is about delivering affordability in a tiny but stylish package. It is not quite an Ikea flat-pack, but conceptually moving in that direction.

“Affordability, however, is about the whole package, not just the building, and I believe it was the synergy of designing the house and land together as a seamless component of the wider Fitzgibbon Chase community, the vision of the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA), that captured the imagination of the judges.”

DBI director of design Barry Lee said the WAF was one of the leading international events for architects.

“To have two firms make the short list is a great endorsement of the quality of architectural talent we have here on the Gold Coast,” he said.

“It was a major coup for us to be selected to design the Etihad Towers, against submissions from renowned firms in the USA, United Kingdom and Singapore, so to follow that with the awards success the development has achieved internationally has been recognition that we have the capability and skills to deliver.”

Mr Lee said DBI was selected to design and engineer Etihad Towers after catching the eye of a representative from a major UAE developer when he visited Ultra at Broadbeach, also designed by the firm and winner of a number of awards including the Australian Institute Architects Karl Langer Building of the Year Award, while on the Gold Coast. The majority of work was completed on the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Etihad Towers has already taken home major accolades at the World Travel Awards and Business Traveller Magazine Awards.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate congratulated the two firms on the outstanding achievement.

“It’s fantastic to see these two businesses representing the Gold Coast at the prestigious World Architecture Festival awards,” he said.

“Making the shortlist is a significant achievement and testament to the phenomenal talent of our local development industry.

“The Gold Coast is home to world class architects, designers and urban planners, and it’s great to see both DBI Design and degenhartSHEDD recognised as among the best.”

The WAF will be held in Singapore from October 3 to 5, and this year is also expected to host a special exhibition promoting the work of Queensland architects through a recent initiative of the Australian Institute of Architects Queensland Chapter. Visit for more information.


For media enquiries, please contact:
Holly Small
Promedia Public Relations / 07 5593 2011

degenhartSHEDD is an award winning design practice that specialises in architecture and urban design, aiming to create successful places with a win-win result for clients, councils, and communities. You can view their website at

DBI Design is behind some of Australia’s – and the world’s – most recognisable developments, including Palazzo Versace, Sheraton Mirage, the Oracle, the Wave and Soul on the Gold Coast and internationally the Intercontinental Hotel In Fiji, Park Avenue Tower Taipei. For more information, visit

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