aerial view of rocky foreshore
The Spit Redevelopment / Ravens At Odds

According to the organisers in last week’s Australian Institute of Landscape Architects Queensland awards entries demonstrated a more diverse, community focused and environmentally aware tilt than in previous years. 

 Winners were celebrated for sustainability, First Nations recognition, and gender equity, AILA QLD president Tessa Leggo said.

AILA QLD president Tessa Leggo

“There is a layer of environmental awareness that is being inbuilt into the landscapes, whether that be an increase in biodiversity or tackling urban heat island effects, the result is a more resilient future for us all.

“Playgrounds and parks weren’t the only places to draw activity, with city revitalisation and cultural centres, ensuring the needs of the community are met… responding to our changing environment, addressing challenges faced by urban communities to provide adaptable and liveable cities.”

The sold-out awards ceremony was held at The Rose Room in Brisbane on 16 June, a pink-hued event space on the top floor of the iconic Fortitude Valley venue Cloudland.

There were a total of 45 nominations received, with a total of 21 awards allocated “ranging from unique artist interventions to regional scale planning”. 

Awards for excellence 

The Spit Redevelopment is a $205 million new vision to develop the last remaining beachfront site at the Gold Coast’s The Spit. The area was nominated by Tourism Australia as Australia’s third best beach in 2022, so around 140 hectares of 201 hectares was set aside for park activities and public amenities, while the rest will be given a luxury upgrade. It was given an award of excellence in the parks and open space category, for a “sensitive, inclusive and elegant” solution for a challenging site. 

“The design recognises and respects the power of the landscape as the hero whilst incorporating bold gestures,” commented the jury. “The built elements are simple yet playful, taking clues from the site. The fluid forms and robust materials compliment rather than overwhelm the seawall and spit with great synergy.”

Another project celebrated with an excellence award was Carol Park by Fred St with The Landscape Construction Company and Logan City Council. “Carol Park is an example of a small project that achieves a great outcome and an enduring high quality active transport connection,” stated the jury. “[It is a] permeable urban solution that is simply yet exquisitely detailed and executed, resulting in an activated community link.”

Further west, a Toowoomba research project, by Lat27 with Trace Visual Planning and Design, Extent Heritage, PSA Consulting and The Comms Team, was also recognised with an award for excellence. 

The Toowoomba regional landscape and urban character study, commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council, sought to capture the key differences that define the landscape character across the region. The Toowoomba regional scenic amenity study sought to identify the landscapes within the region that hold value to the community, and identify pathways to protect them. 

“This project reinforces the importance of establishing the basis of community values to inform strategic planning and illustrates a clear development in thinking and process,” the jury commented. “The outcomes are clearly articulated in a comprehensive series of documents that will play a key role in informing the mechanisms of the planning scheme for Toowoomba Regional Council to ensure the liveability of this growing area.”

Other landscape architecture winners were: 

Nambour Forecourt Revamp by the Sunshine Coast Council took out a landscape architecture and regional achievement award for the Sunshine Coast. Philip Street Communities and Families Precinct by Zone Landscape Architecture took out the regional achievement award for Central QLD. Registered landscape architect and urban designer David Uhlmann took home the president’s award.

Young Australian designer and photographer Nathan Merlano claimed the future leader award. The Afghanistan War Memorial by Tanya Wood Landscape Architecture in Brisbane was recognised with the people’s choice award and the landscape architecture award. 

  • Mollison Park by RP
  • Reconciliation Rocks Precinct Development in Cooktown by LA3 Landscape Architecture
  • Tree House by RPS
  • North Maleny Garden Project by Sod Design
  • Brisbane South State Secondary College by JFP Urban Consultants
  • Fortitude Valley State Secondary College by Arcadia Landscape Architecture and RPS
  • The University of Queensland’s Student Central by Hassell
  • Sippy Downs Drive Boulevard and Gateway by the Sunshine Coast Council
  • Small Creek by CUSP
  • Ipswich Central Revitalisation by Vee Design, Fourfold Studio and Urban Enquiry
  • POD Early School by Wearthy
  • Schuster Park Jungle Playground by Zone Landscape Architecture
  • Duet: Illuminated Peewees at Oxford Street Bulimba by Brisbane City Council, Design Brisbane and artist Belinda Smith 
  • Eminence in James Street by CUSP

AILA chief executive officer Ben Stockwin said that the institute’s main goal is to create places that support a healthy and liveable planet for the benefit of all communities in Australia. 

“Landscape Architecture plays such an important role in the national debate of climate change, sustainability, and First Nations recognition. These Awards serve as another reminder of the sector’s significance and impact,” Mr Stockwin said.  

The 2022 Queensland awards jury chair, Dr Chris Boulton, said: “The broad scope and spatial distribution of work represented by this year’s nominations illustrates the wide-ranging impact of the profession in Queensland – there is a strong representation of projects delivered across many categories and throughout regional settings from Coolangatta to Cooktown.”

For full disclosure, AILA is a collaboration partner on The Fifth Estate’s Urban Greening event, along with UTS and Living Future Institute. 

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