McGregor Coxall team

27 June 2012 – Sydney took home three of the four major awards and Brisbane the fourth at Tuesday  night’s  2012 Australia Awards for Urban Designs at a “who’s who” dinner in Canberra that also signalled the opening of the annual Built Environment Meets Parliament conference on Wednesday.

The awards, hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia, opened with a presentation by Grand Designs Australia’s Peter Maddison who said that the making of Melbourne’s “great urban fabric” was thanks to brave interventions by  people with “strong personalities.”

Winning projects were:

  • Delivered Outcome – small scale – River Quay, by Arkhefield Architects and Interior Design and Cardno S.P.L.A.T Landscape Architects
  • Delivered Outcome – large scale – Darling Quarter by by Lend Lease, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmt), Aspect Studios, Arup and Hyder Consulting with a commendation to Taronga Zoo,
  • Policies, Programs and Concepts – large scale – The Future of Penrith, Penrith of the Future byCampement Urban, Sylvie Blocher, Francois Daune and Tim Williams with a commendation to Next Generation Planning
  • Handbook, Policies, Programs and Concepts – small scale – Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy, McGregor Coxall.
Darling Quarter

Institute national president Dyan Currie said River Quay was an excellent example of waterfront enhancement with open space and elevated decks.

“This is an excellent redevelopment of the old Expo 88 Boardwalk precinct that not only recognises the past but delivers modern infrastructure and facilities,” she said.

“The jury was impressed with the way the riverside park blends into a well-designed arrangement of restaurants and buildings to create intimate meeting and gathering spaces.”

Ms Currie said the jury also praised the Darling Quarter redevelopment for the way it created “a vibrant and dynamic mix of commercial and public space with grassed community areas, a children’s theatre, retail terrace and a large illuminated water playground”.

“This is an innovative design that offers a more activated public domain with great connectivity to create a place that can be shared by a wide range of city users,” she said.

“Darling Quarter contributes significantly to its surrounding urban environment and has great presence with eye catching architecture and sustainability features.”

The Parramatta River Urban Design Strategy was described as opening u

Penrith plan winners, Tim Williams (left) and

p “new lifestyle and economic opportunities with the blending of river front green space and a strong activated urban edge”.

Ms Currie said strategy represented a significant facelift in Sydney’s second largest CBD.

“The jury noted that the vision of an open space network, public spaces and future development demonstrated the potential for the city to reclaim its relationship with the river,” she said.

Ms Currie said the jury also noted the project was a highly competent demonstration of how well urbanism could contribute to the environmental assets of cities and encourage people to revalue them.

Finally, The Future of Penrith, Penrith of the Future, was hailed as “an inspirational vision, utopian in its idealistic imagery setting out to meet every challenge with fresh imagination”.

Ms Currie said great urban design was a mixture of great imagination and planning principles.

Sacha Coles, Aspect Studios

“The jury was obviously very impressed with this concept. It embraces urban design fundamentals like accessible public space, recreational precincts and walkability while at the same time allowing for the right amount of density,” she said.

“The concept re-connects Penrith to the river, proposing environmental initiatives that might be supported by the private market creating economic opportunities.”

The Australia Award for Urban Design was first presented in 1996 with Prime Minister Julia Gillard its current patron.

The award is supported by the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Consult Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Property Council of Australia and the Urban Design Forum.

For more details about the awards go to