CityLab is Australia’s leading architectural competition advisor 

CityLab helps local and state government, universities, airports and cultural institutions find the best architects, urban designers, landscape architects and interior designers for their project.


Competitions and Procurement

CityLab advises on the full range of procurement options, from open, select and invited architectural competitions, to Expression of Interest, RFPs and RFTs. CityLab can help guide the client to determine the most appropriate format and structure of their competitive process, understanding that each project has its unique set of priorities and requirements. We work with an extensive network of advisors, including: legal and probity advisors, project managers, graphic designer, editors, writers and drafting/modeling services.
Where a client has existing organisational infrastructure CityLab can work alongside this. Where they don‘t, CityLab can provide a full independent service, from beginning to end.

CityLab works closely with both the Australian Institute of Architects to ensure that all competitions follow best practice and are endorsed by the relevant institute.
CityLab can provide a full procurement advisory service including: 

  • Jury selection and management
  • Stakeholder consultation and advice
  • Brief writing and document development
  • Site analysis
  • Background and context research
  • Moderating advisory groups and panels
  • Communications and media advice
  • Competitor management
  • Contract development
  • Liaising with the Australian Institute of Architects
  • Technical and jury report writing
  • Secure document management

Workshop Mediation and Facilitation

Andrew Mackenzie has extensive experience in hosting design-based workshops bringing together clients, stakeholders and design professionals for a range of project requirements.
CityLab’s facilitation service can include:

  • Positive Guidance Workshops
  • Site options testing
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Industry forums
  • Community engagement and consultation
CityLab promotes ethical procurement.
This means:
  • Respect the intellectual rights of those who create it
  • Embrace equity and transparency in the procurement process
  • Invest in design briefs that are legible and rich with opportunity
  • Provide appropriate levels of site and existing condition information
  • Fairly balance all responsibilities, indemnities and liabilities
  • Respect the role of jury members and selection panels
  • Observe competition and tender commitments

Citylab acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work and live, recognises their continuing connection to land, water and community and celebrates their enduring presence and knowledge.



Andrew Mackenzie Director

Andrew Mackenzie is the Founding Director of CityLab. He has advised on competitions in every state in Australia, assisting both local and state government, as well as universities, corporations and development authorities.

Andrew is also an architectural writer and columnist, and has developed a strong industry profile, as a strategic design thinker and communicator. He has hosted numerous industry events and was a Creative Director of the 2015 AIA National Conference.

With over two decades of skill and experience working in the architectural sector Andrew is well placed to assist in the management and delivery of architectural procurement processes, with particular experience in complex design briefs.

Annie Ryan
Project Coordinator
Annie is the Project Coordinator at CityLab. She works closely with the Director across all Competitions ensuring timely delivery of Project schedules.
Over the past decade CityLab has worked with a number of consultants including Probity Advisors, Quantity Surveyors, Graphic Designers & Brief Writers. CityLab has a strong working relationship with many specialist consultants whose expert advice is beneficial for clients of any kind.

CityLab has helped both public and private sector clients from all over Australia deliver a range of architecture and design competitions, bringing designers together to find the right design solution for both designers and clients.

Some of CityLab’s past and current clients include:

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Office of the Victorian Government Architect
  • Government Architect NSW
  • Sydney Olympic Park Authority
  • Development Victoria, VIC
  • The City of Greater Geelong, VIC
  • Whitehorse City Council, VIC
  • Major Projects Victoria, VIC
  • City of Charles Sturt,
  • Randwick City Council, NSW
  • Great Ocean Road Comittee, VIC
  • Office of Design and Architecture South Australia, SA
  • Gold Coast City Council, QLD

  • Monash University, VIC
  • Murdoch University, WA

  • National Gallery of Victoria, VIC
  • Arts Centre Melbourne, VIC
  • The Victorian Pride Centre, VIC

  • Minderoo Group, WA
  • Waterfront Auckland, New Zealand
  • Brisbane Airport Corporation, QLD


Future Homes Competition

State Victoria
Client Department of Environment Land Water & Planning with the Office of the Victorian Government Architect
Competition Two Stage Design Competition
Winner TBC


Jill Garner Victorian Government Architect (Jury Chair)
Jan McCredie Jury Member, Missing Middle Competition (NSW)
Jennie Officer Director, Officer Woods Architects, Senior Lecturer, University of Western Australia
Koos de Keijzer OVGA Design Review Panel, Principal, DKO
Matt Cohen Director Development Approvals & Urban Design, DELWP
Sadie Morgan (UK) RIBA National Awards Advisory Panel, Director, dRMM
Tony Isaacson Robin Boyd Foundation Chairperson, Former Director, Kane Construction

Image courtesy OVGA

The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning in partnership with the Office of the Victorian Government Architect is pleased to announce the Future Homes Competition. This competition is the first phase of the two-phase Future Homes Project. The competition invites leading designers to prepare exemplar designs for apartment buildings that will be replicable in middle suburban Melbourne environments. The second phase will be the implementation of exemplary designs post-competition. The competition invites collaborative teams, however the competitor's authorised representative must have an ARBV or VBA number registered to practice in Victoria.

Registrations are open until 10 April 2020. Stage One launches 12 March 2020.

Designers are invited to provide designs that will impact on the future generation of housing across Victoria. The winning designs will set new benchmarks in design, sustainability and liveability and how these can be applied in established suburbs.

The competition will be in two stages and CityLab is pleased to have been contracted as the competition advisor. Stage One invites conceptual designs, with shortlisted competitors invited to participate in Stage Two to provide schematic designs. There is a prize pool of $500,000 with winners having the opportunity to inform potential planning reforms based on their designs.

Harry Butler Institute Environmental Education Centre Design Competition

State Western Australia
Client Murdoch University
Competition EOI + Single Stage Design Competition
Winner TBC



Image courtesy of Murdoch Unviersity

Murdoch University is embarking on the development of a globally significant environmental education centre. Named after Dr Harry Butler AO CBE, the Harry Butler Institute Environmental Education Centre will be home to the Harry Butler Institute and will support its goal to champion research into the co-existence of biodiversity, business and community. The centre will be a rigorous thinking and innovation hub, where industry and academia collaborate to provide scientific solutions to environmental management challenges.

Located at the new entry and geographic centre of the university campus, the centre will form a gateway to the Beeliar Regional Park wetland comprising a technology enriched building and extensive external public open space. Murdoch University is seeking to deliver a world-class facility that will bring together design excellence, sustainability and innovative technological outcomes, while paying homage to the 50,000-year historical, social and cultural importance of the area.

The competition will be in two stages, with an EOI followed by a single stage design competition, to select a winning competitor to design the Harry Butler Institute. It is expected that competitor teams will reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the competition brief. Following the EOI in stage one – which will include an indication of a high-level design approach – a shortlist of competitors will be invited to participate in the stage two design competition. An Independent jury of design professionals will select from the EOI up to three competitors to proceed to competition stage.  All stage two competitors will be paid an honorarium.

The competition brief will be released early 2020 with announcement of winner by mid 2020. 

The Competition is open to multidisciplinary teams from around the world. Each Competitor team must be led by an Authorised Representative, registered to practice in Australia and must include an Architect registered to practice in Western Australia. The Authorised Representative will be the contracting party.

Stadia Precinct Design Competition

State NSW
Client Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Competition EOI and Single Stage Design Competition
Winner TBC


Ben Hewett Acting Government Architect GANSW
Mark Tyrell Adjunct Professor at UTS & Director of TYRELLSTUDIO
Oi Choong Consultant Landscape Architect
Simon Knott Director BKK Architecture
SueAnne Ware Head of Architecture and Built Environment University of Newcastle
The Sydney Olympic Park Authority is seeking a team to design a public domain concept that breathes new life into the area surrounding ANZ Stadium, the Stadia Precinct. CityLab is the competition advisor to the Competition.

The process is composed of an open Expression of Interest (Stage One) followed by a design response phase (Stage Two). SOPA seeks to attract design participation from a diverse group of outstanding urban designers, landscape architects and architects, working alongside collaborative multidisciplinary design teams to respond to this design brief.

The competition winner will be awarded $100,000 with an additional $100,000 to be divided equally among the remaining shortlisted competitors. A final Construction budget will be subject to future staged funding from development contributions on sites surrounding the stadium. An indicative construction budget will be made available to the Competitors at the commencement of Stage Two.

Australian Furniture Design Award 2020

State VIC
Client The National Gallery of Victoria
Competition EOI & Single Stage Design Competition
Winner James Walsh


Brian Parkes CEO Jamfactory
Helen Kontouris Designer & Creative Director LEN
Simone LeAmon Curator NGV
Tom Owens Managing Director & Principal Gensler
Tony Russell Brand Director Stylecraft

Image: Elliat Rich, Tall place (detail) from the Other places series, 2018.
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Registrations are open now until 15 November. Register here.

The National Gallery Victoria (NGV) and Stylecraft are proud to present the Australian Furniture Design Award 2020 as part of Melbourne Design Week. CityLab is the Competition Advisor for the Competition. Designers are invited to make submissions responding to the Melbourne Design Week 2020 theme ‘How can design shape life?’

The winning designer will receive a $20,000 cash prize, and invitation from Stylecraft to develop a design through to commercial production for distribution and a two-week residency program at JamFactory in Adelaide to experiment with new ideas and materials, prototype new work or explore new making processes.

A shortlist of five entrants will be invited to proceed to Stage Two and present their realised designs for exhibition and judging at the Stylecraft showroom during Melbourne Design Week 2020.
Stage Two
Launch 09 December 2019
Question Period 09 December 2019 - 17 January 2020
Stage Two Close 20 February 2020 (5:00pm AEST)
Freight Collection 20 February (08:00am AEST)
Exhibition Launch 20 March 2020

Victorian Design Challenge 2020

State VIC
Client The National Gallery of Victoria
Competition Two Stage Design Competition
Winner TBC


Bas van Abel CEO Fairphone
Craig Reucassel Presenter War on Waste
Richard Hoare Design Inovation Director Breville
Rose Read Director E-Waste Watch Institute
Simone LeAmon Curator NGV

The Competition
City Lab is proud to announce the launch of the 2020 Victorian Design Challenge. The E-Waste Challenge aims to highlight the capacity and responsibility of designers to contribute to shifting behaviour, raising awareness, redesigning products, or devising smart end-of-life solutions that reduce the negative impacts of e-waste.

Creative Victoria and the NGV are offering Winners support tailored for each category to prototype and further their idea including a $20,000 prize for the winning professional design idea and $5,000 for the wining tertiary student design idea.


Professional Category
Derek Oskar Raj Zari
Sam Barrett
Vert Design
Bryan Chung

Tertiary Student
Henry Blain, RMIT University
Circo, RMIT University
MangoMen, Monash University
Phoebe Richardson, RMIT University

Primary/Secondary Student
Finlay Van Lieshout
Mill Park Library Makers Club
Stage Two
Stage Two Open 02 December 2019
Question period 02 December 2019 – 02 February 2020
Stage Two close 21 February 2020 5pm AEST
Stage Two evaluation (Challenge Final) 18 March 2020