Sydney Park Water Re-Use

An architecturally-designed cyclist and pedestrian underpass, urban greening and managing stormwater in playful ways were features of some of the winners at the 2016 Australian urban Design Awards, announced in Melbourne last week.

The Australia Award for Urban Design – Delivered Outcome Large Scale was won by Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership With Alluvium, Turpin + Crawford Studio and Dragonfly Environmental for the Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project.

A component of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy, the project is harvesting around 850 million litres of stormwater per year from the Newtown catchment, then purifying it through the use of green infrastructure including bio-retention wetlands before returning it to viable uses.

Landscaping aimed to engage the community using the park in the story of water and the flora and fauna that rely on it, with elements including cascades that also aerate the water, nature trails and playscapes.

The Jury said the project demonstrates excellence in urban design through an “integrated response That delivers a unique, dynamic and experiential urban space”.

It also highlights the benefit of design team collaboration, they said, bringing together water sensitive urban design, interconnecting civil infrastructure, environmental bio-retention and a local urban water re-use system.

“This project exemplifies the urban design benefits that can be delivered from strategies such as Sustainable Sydney 2030 and the Sydney Green Grid.”

Two awards were given in the Australia Award for Urban Design – Delivered Outcome Small Scale category. Lahznimmo Architects and Spackman Mossop Michaels for Bowen Place Crossing in the ACT; and ASPECT Studios, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, CHROFI and Gartner Rose for The Goods Line in Sydney.

Bowen Place Crossing
Bowen Place Crossing

The Bowen Place Crossing is a pedestrian and cyclist underpass that connects the Parliamentary Triangle with the pedestrian spaces around Lake Burley Griffin. Commissioned by the National Capital Authority, the design team’s response includes a rain garden comprising a grove of paperbarks, rushes and native grasses between the underpass and Lake Burley Griffin to filter stormwater runoff before it enters the lake.

“The quality of the design is most pronounced in the experience not being just an underpass, reinforced through the sophistication of the materials used and the simplicity of the landscaping,” the jury said.

Two awards were also given in the Australia Award for Urban Design, Programs, Policies and Concepts – Large Scale category. One went to City of Sydney for Green Square Town centre, another to CHROFI and Ku-ring-gai Council for the Turramurra Community Hub Masterplan.

The Australia Award for Urban Design, Programs, Policies and Concepts Category – Small Scale category was won by CODA Studio, Urbis, Landcorp and Josh Byrne and Associates for the One Planet Living registered WGV at White Gum Valley in Western Australia.

Chair of the awards jury, William Chandler, of Chandler Consulting Services, said urban design had an important role in addressing big picture issues.

“Australia faces many challenges in a rapidly changing world – population change, extreme weather events and climate change, the transition of energy production, transport, housing affordability, and Sustainability,” he said.

“These are serious issues and urban design has a major role to play in creatively addressing them.

“The Australian Urban Design Awards demonstrate that the planners, designers and managers of Australia’s urban realms are, and must be, skilled, innovative and show strong leadership. This year we saw a record number of entrants from across Australia’s cities, towns and communities and the jury was impressed by the high quality entries in all the categories,”

The Jury included national president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Ken Maher; Kate Cullity, director of Taylor Cullity Lethlean; Victorian Government architect Jill Garner; general manager of the Australian Building Codes Board, Neil Savery; Advisian senior consultant Courtenay Wheeler; Arup Queensland ESD leader Anne Kovachevich; and HIP V HYPE sustainability director and development manager, Peter Steele.

The patrons of the awards were prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull, chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission.

“Australia’s cities support our most important resource – our people,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Great cities attract, develop and retain talent, supporting them to innovate, create new jobs and growth. High-quality urban design is essential in building more sustainable cities that are great places to live, work and visit.”

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