2012 AILA National Awards in Landscape Architecture

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2012 AILA Australian Medal Winner: UDLA

On Behalf of: Yawuru Registered Native Title Holders Body Corporate

The cultural management plan for Yawuru coastal country and the Yawuru Conservation Estate.


This project has been awarded the AILA National Medal for Landscape Architecture as it achieves a number of outcomes. The published Yawuru Cultural Management Plan expresses past, present and future; it offers discussions about Culture, Country, Community and liyan (wellbeing) that transcend other reports of this kind, that record and map values. This Cultural Management Plan will and should respectfully drive conservation plans, land management decisions and design activities in marine and terrestrial areas Australia-wide, such is its generous and visionary approach.

It is more than a conversation, more than a listening and recording, more than walking and seeing the land; it is all of these things, but most importantly, it is none of these, but the land and its people.

UDLA was commissioned by the Yawuru people of the Broome area to assist in the creation of a long-term management plan of Yawuru country, which has resulted in the creation of a unique document. The Yawuru Cultural Management Plan (YCMP) has been produced under the guidance and leadership of the Yawuru Culture and Heritage Sub-committee (chaired by Jimmy Edgar) and endorsed by the Yawuru Registered Native Title Holders Body Corporate (RNTHBC) with the key intent to produce a document to guide the joint management of the Yawuru Conservation Estates and achieve best practice outcomes.


On behalf of the the Broome Yawuru People, UDLA in coordination with Sarah Yu were commissioned by the Yawuru Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) to assist in facilitating a long-term cultural management plan for their Country.

The Plan explains how the Yawuru RNTHBC will be involved in managing country through their Ranger Program, working in partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation, Shire of Broome, government agencies and researchers to make sure that Country is cared for in the best possible way and ensures that the management of country brings the greatest possible benefits to Yawuru people.



UDLA Director Greg Grabasch considers Yawuru's decision to undertake such an initiative can be seen as a strong empowering precedent for all communities that have an inseperable custodian relationship towards their landscape, it is a unique 'Place-based' plan.

The Landscape Architect whom is principled upon equally respecting culture and landscape have skills that provide a wonderful opportunity to sensitively facilitate these once in a lifetime opportunities.

" This project goes beyond a one way consultation approach towards a process of facilitating, engaging and empowering culturally known understandings into a form that could be understood in a cross-cultural and inter-generational way, a key to the project’s understanding and success. This Yawuru Cultural Management Plan precedent and process has the opportunity to respectfully drive planning, conservation and land management decisions, including design activities in marine and terrestrial areas, certainly within Broome and possibly Australia-Wide."





AILA National Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence



Recipient: Plan (E)

Project: Rio Tinto Naturescape, Kings Park & Botanic Gardens


Client: Botanic Gardens & Park Authority (WA)

An innovative response to a challenging brief, Rio Tinto Naturescape delivers not only a natural creek system as a playspace for children, but it does so in a manner that is respectful and sensitive to the existing environmental conditions and cultural systems.

The thoughtful, contemporary design elements, sculpters and hierarchy of paths also provide an educational experience and journey for adults and carers.

This responsive design sets an exemplar for the future provision of recreational and educational facilities in bushland settings located in urban environments.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence



Recipient: John Mongard Landscape Architects

Project: Bingara and the Living Classroom


Client: Gwydir Shire Council

Partners: Gwydir Shire Council, Vision 2020

This project engaged the local community to develop strategies to future-proof its town, in a way that could be built by local people for very little cost. A slow evolution of ideas over a five year time frame played a strong role in educating the community about the future potential for Bingara. 

This is a worthy example of the role that landscape architects will increasingly need to play in helping regional Australian towns survive the multiple threats of sea change, ageing, brain drain and climate change that threaten to make Australian country towns a thing of the past.






AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Jeavons Landscape Architects

Project: Clifton Hill Railway Project Landscape

Photo credits: Andrew Lloyd


Client: Department of Transport (Victoria)

Jeavons Landscape Architects has skilfully reclaimed a much loved but badly degraded portion of the public realm along the Merri Creek and given it new life as a sensitive and well considered space much to the delight of users and stakeholders alike.

As a design, the Clifton Hill Railway Project Landscape overcomes the challenges of unifying a long and linear site with multiple level changes to achieve an accessible path through revegetated creekland. Well-researched and ecologically sensitive planting reflects the character of the site and the materials are recycled, salvaged and robust. Travel along the path is punctuated by nodes giving the user a reason to stop and recreate in a previously derelict and abandoned space.

As the principle designer of this project, Jeavons Landscape Architects exhibited the breadth and scope of the landscape architect by having a key role in broad scale planning and visioning as well as addressing multiple functional requirements including design, planning, consultation, conservation and reclamation.



The AILA Edna Walling National Award
for Residential Designed Landscapes

Recipient: Fresh Landscape Design

Project: Roogulli (Bywong NSW)


Fresh Landscape Design’s Roogulli is a leader in sustainable residential design, offering a clear and repeatable demonstration of what can be achieved with a small budget, passionate persistence, thoughtful creativity and spades of patience. 

Salvaged, low impact materials and local grassland plants have produced a rural garden strongly identifying with the local area, complete with a rampant and evolving vegetable garden that nourishes the household.
Integral in the design is the creation of a ‘slow’ garden that has evolved in response to materials available for salvage and the landscape architect’s developing ideas about how sustainable design principles can be expressed in the manufactured landscape. This project draws on ideas from permaculture, water sensitive urban design, sustainable construction, regenerative farming and native grasslands management.

This is ‘living sustainability’ clearly demonstrated and beautifully rendered.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: ASPECT Studios

Project: Pirrama Park

Client: City of Sydney

Project Partners: ASPECT Studios. Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects, CAB Consulting and The City of Sydney
Pirrama Park restores the powerful relationship between Harris Street and the water, delivering unique, waterside community facilities, innovative sustainable components (including solar energy and far reaching storm water initiatives). Pirrama Park transforms a fenced-off post-industrial concrete slab into a richly varied urban waterfront parkland.

The park design interprets the site’s successive shorelines and rich maritime associations and creates a series clearly defined park rooms each with different opportunities for use and activity.  The materials palette unifies the site and promotes durability and robustness appropriate to a public situation and suggests the site’s former character. The harbour edge has again become a wonderful social place for landing small watercraft, wading and swimming, fishing and yarning, reinstating ways in which the harbour at Pyrmont used to be incorporated into daily rituals.

A key to the Pirrama’s success has been the Play Space by Registered Landscape Architect Fionna Robbe. The Play Space reflects her philosophy that best possible opportunities should be available to children and young people to kindle resilience and to encourage and support active, engaged participation in a future of challenge and dynamic change.

This new parkland is evidence of the ability of good design to change and revitalise communities returning valuable open space to the hands of the community.




AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: ASPECT studios

Project: Jack Evans Boat Harbour  - Tweed Heads


Client: Tweed Shire Council

Project Partners: Tweed Shire Council, McGregor Westlake Architecture, Cardno Grogan Richards, Webb Australia, Wilde and Wollard

This project responds sensitively to the challenges faced by many coastal areas -beach erosion, tidal surges and flood events. After extensive consultation with the local community, the final design preserves existing beach areas, introduces new and durable interpretations of beach-like experiences and creates a broad, high-quality, harbour-side public domain.

The use of timber boardwalks reflects the jetties of the area, while stacked, concrete fingers are a visually-pleasing adaptation of traditional sea-wall stabilisation techniques.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Andrew Green (formerly Gamble McKinnon Green)

Project: SW1


Client: Property Solutions and Austcorp

The strength of the design influence of the landscape architect is evident in the integration of plants with a restrained natural materials palette to unify private and public open space. This influence is delivered via a layout that provides a variety of places for gathering and a sub-tropical refuge and thoroughfare within the urban fabric of Brisbane’s West End.

SW 1 successfully employs green infrastructure in a seamless way to benefit the amenity and liveability of medium density housing and provides a model of sustainable mixed use development.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Ecoscape (Australia) Pty Ltd

Project: Mueller Park Universal Playspace


Client: City of Subiaco

Partners: Water Features By Design

Mueller Park represents a promising progression in the development of all-abilities playgrounds. Rather than the primitive response of including one or two pieces of segregated and disability-specific equipment, modern playgrounds allow children of all abilities to play together.

This project goes a step further with the use of high-quality play equipment, carefully designed to suit the site and respect its context. Natural and reclaimed materials feature in a well resolved combination of off-the-shelf and custom-designed elements. The result is an intriguing and engaging playground which reflects an Australian commitment to social inclusion.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Vee Design

Project: Robelle Domain

Recipient: Vee Design

Project: Robelle Domain

Client: Ipswich City Council

This master-planned residential development embraces natural drainage lines to manage flood events and cleanse stormwater in a way that enhances the development of public open space.

Robelle Domain identifies the needs of the greater Ipswich community and delivers a network of linear trails with external and internal connections to passive and active recreational spaces through a variety of landscaped treatments that replicate natural landscape typologies.

Robelle Domain is a sound, working example for the future integration of natural systems with recreational needs for communities.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: McGregor Coxall

Project: The Australian Garden and New Entry at the National Gallery of Australia


The NGA and its surrounding sculpture gardens were completed in 1983; in 2005 McGregor Coxall were commissioned to prepare master planning and detailed designs for the public spaces associated with the new entrance and a new Australian Garden on the site of a previous car park. These new gardens include a skyspace sculpture, ‘Within Without’ by American artist James Turrell.

The centrepiece of the Australian Garden is a large pond in which the prominent artwork appears to float. The landscape architects worked closely with the artist to locate the sculpture on the southeast corner of the garden. Here it affords the best possible viewing aspect and is surrounded by mature native trees.

This project exemplifies best practice in designing with endemic species for year-round floral display, employing sustainable design principles and ensuring minimal (and ultimately no) water consumption. In doing so McGregor Coxall have produced a timeless, elegant and uncluttered sculpture garden which provides a seamless connection between its much older neighbour (The National Gallery Sculpture Garden) and its extraordinary new centrepiece.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Taylor Cullity Lethlean

Project: Wild Sea Exhibit, Melbourne Zoo


Client: Zoos Victoria

Partners: Troppo Architects, David Lancashire Design, Oceanis

This is an innovative marine zoo exhibit, which brings the visitor into an exciting and educative facility which at the same time offers both a beautiful and educational experience. Outstanding aspects of the Exhibit include:- the sustainability considerations including the closed water system, The Deep, the underwater exhibit, and the integrated and evocative design of the other marine exhibits.

It is evident that the consultative process and design planning was comprehensive and responsive to both the zoo’s and the visitors needs. The jury commend that the educational and sustainable design considerations were maintained alongside the structural and exhibit’s design development and contemporary built expression.

A commendable and crucial factor to the successful integrated built achievement was the close collaboration of the landscape architect with the architect and engineer.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient; Spackman Mossop Michaels

Project: Humanities and Science Campus (Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra)


Client: National Capital Authority

Partners: Lahznimmo Architects

This design demonstrates an exemplary responsiveness to its setting of landmark buildings, including the National Library, National Gallery, and Questacon, and to an urban open space with complex relationships, circulation and viewing needs.

The design planning and then the design implementation have achieved a successful integration of the formal vistas, the structured, tree shaded sculpture rooms and the native planted, organic forms, inspired by the regional bushland, which seamlessly and appropriately links to the Reconciliation Place.
The space has been transformed to a notable addition to Canberra’s civic realm, already with a distinct identity and eminently usable and evocative spaces.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architecture

Project: Lollipop Creek


Client: Devine Communities

As our cities and town push further and further into new areas, developers and communities will face important questions about the management of their new urban interface. Will the traditional methods, such as broad acre clearing, mowing and weed spraying, prevail? Or will communities embrace the opportunities to preserve, enhance and regenerate the biodiversity that could exist over their back fence.

The Lollipop Creek master plan recognises the loss of natural grasslands on the western plains of Melbourne and adopts a pragmatic and evidence-based response. The Lollipop Creek master plan retains natural rocky outcrops and other features of the interface area, minimises new disturbance and applies contemporary best practice in weed-control and grass management to stimulate regeneration of indigenous species. The use of ecological and fuel-reduction burning rarely occurs this close to new urban development, but forms an integral part of the success of the this land management program.

Data collected as part of the project confirms improved biodiversity and habitat value through increased cover of native herbs and small shrubs and a marked decrease in weed coverage.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: UDLA

Project: Kimberley LNG Precinct Strategic Assessment: Ethnobiological Report, James Prices Point


Client: Kimberley Land Council

This project goes beyond the norm by using the owners to interpret their own land instead of the consultant interpreting that landscape. The landscape architects' role was significant in this process, in this collaborative partnership that has been established for truly consultative design to occur. The report notes "the interrelated impacts that occur when a physical or biological component(s) of the land’s ecology is disturbed causing cumulative effects with regard to changes in ethnobiological practice".

The report utilises Goolarabooloo and Jabirr Jabirr traditional knowledge of plants, animals and ecological systems to form management recommendations that function at both a political and cultural level, to provide sustainable solutions to the potential impacts of the LNG precinct at James Price Point.

The outcome is a document that clearly and unequivocally values all elements of the site. Many of these values are only known by the traditional owners themselves. This document greatly facilitates the exchange of these values to achieve a rich design response.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: City of Bendigo

Project: Bendigo Botanic Gardens Master Plan



Client: City of Bendigo

This body of work is an extremely comprehensive assessment of all the layers that contribute to a public park. The resultant master plan  responsively and responsibly interprets these layers and formulates them into a vision "that will celebrate the past, appreciate the present and embrace the future".

The depth of understanding and commitment to gardens is clearly shown in the end result: a document that will result in a lasting legacy for the community, the region and in fact, botanical gardens and arboreta nation-wide.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Harris Hobbs

Project: Bonner P-6 School & Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Learning & Cultural Centre



Client: ACT Education and Training Directorate

The landscape and external environment planned for this School provides a sensitive reading of the environments inhabited by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples over the continent and islands of Australia. These inherent values of the client have been carefully planned into the 'school' and site so that the landscape does the informing and teaching.

This has formed a very sound platform for the deliverance of an embedded cultural response for all children and residents of Canberra. The theory of the landscape has been fused with the practice of the planned use of space. "The planned school delivers on the educational and curriculum based brief, with regard to the functions of the external spaces."



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Client: McGregor Coxall

Project: Itaoui Woodland Park


Client: Modernity Pty Ltd, Robert Itaoui

This project is of a new cemetery model.   The burial park is located on a remnant patch of the Cumberland Plain Woodland which is now and endangered landscape type.  The landscape architect’s insights and exemplary landscape approach to the originally limited brief included: responding to the opportunity to protect and reinstate a unique landscape; revising the earlier master plan; and establishing comprehensive ESD initiatives for the whole site.  This contribution also led to an expansion of the client’s role for the site including and educational program for this landscape.  

The master plan located the small area of formal memorial gardens and the suspended walkway through the site in response to rigorous site planning and sustainable principles.  The restored woodland landscape provides an inspirational setting for the visitor and as a whole transforms the cemetery model and visitor memorial experience.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Clouston Associates

Project: Clarence River Way Masterplan


Partners: SGL Consulting Group

The Clarence River Way masterplan is an exciting expression of the multiple benefits that landscape appreciation can bring to a community. In a brilliant statement of clarity, the entire masterplan is built on one simple element -building a future on the area’s greatest asset -the Clarence River. This focus expands the masterplan from being a traditional ‘destination-based’ assessment to one that encompasses the broader region, with its range of places, linkages and systems.

The Clarence River Way masterplan contemplates broad increases in the level of access to, engagement with, and use of the Clarence River. It addresses a broad spectrum of environmental, social and cultural outcomes. But perhaps the most surprising element is the extent to which a thorough approach to the ‘core work’ of landscape architecture also enables the development of a plan for the future economic prosperity of the region.

The masterplan is sensitive to the history of the region and aims to preserve the natural environment while presenting a clear, and achievable, plan for a enriching this special place.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Spackman Mossop Michaels

Project: Chinatown Public Domain Plan



Client: The City of Sydney

Partners: The City of Sydney

This is an innovative plan for a complex part of Sydney that has not only a diversity of commercial uses and public realms but many layers of cultural values and built form expressions.

The landscape architect’s rigorous program of community engagement and site assessments led to one of the key imperatives being that winning back space for the public domain was key to the master plan success.

The landscape architect initiated an unconventional approach to the urban master plan approach in response to the diversity of both communities and urban spaces in the Chinatown locality.  Their ten independent yet interrelated upgrade projects provided the flexibility needed for implementation and funding.


AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Taylor Cullity Lethlean

Project: Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga Urban Regeneration Project



Client: Adelaide City Council

Partners: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer

The Victoria Square / Tarndanyangga Regeneration Project seeks to address the existing deficiencies and enhance the great potential of the site and the surrounding precinct. The Regeneration Master Plan locates the Square within its precinct and greater city context and identifies initiatives to improve access, connectivity, economic and social benefit beyond the boundaries of the specific site.

Exemplars in urban design, landscape architecture, movement and event planning, civil and structural engineering, ESD planning, lighting design, water sensitive urban design, architecture, horticulture, public art planning, furniture design, graphic design and cost planning have been examined, in addition to a close observation of site context, history and Aboriginal/Kaurna culture. However, the resulting Master Plan is neither derivative nor is it a pastiche of many ideas.

It will provide, most importantly, a series of cohesive spaces for people, at a variety of events, scales, and uses, from the intimate to the spectacular.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Zoë Metherell

Project: A comparative study of Melbourne’s freeway planting designs – implications for biodiversity conservation


Partners: The Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology.

This research project is an interdisciplinary partnership that sought new ways for landscape architects to meet the challenge of preserving biodiversity in the face of threats such as urbanisation, climate change and habitat loss. In Melbourne extensive planting projects are undertaken along freeways. These projects provide opportunities to improve urban biodiversity conservation on a grand scale. This research compared planting designs from seven projects representing a 40-year time span.

This project demonstrates excellence in methodology, methods (data collection and analysis) and in the writing up of final outcomes. It offers landscape architects, local and regional authorities a rigorous and cogent demonstration of how ecological analysis can be applied to landscape architectural designs, to achieve biodiversity.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: Oxigen Landscape Architects, Urban Design

Project: Green Infrastructure


Client: Botanical Gardens of Adelaide

The Green Infrastructure Working Paper looks to advance the case for Green Infrastructure and its importance to the future planning and design of Adelaide as a sustainable city.  It consolidates and explains further the South Australian Government’s intentions under the 30 Year Plan to improve liveability, drive sustainability and increase resilience to climate change.

The Green Infrastructure Working Paper outlines the value Green Infrastructure has to Adelaide, but also, notably, to other Australian cities and communities, reflects international best practice and sets a ‘roadmap’ for Green Infrastructure delivery that will be responsive to Australia’s varying, yet unique landscapes, climates and socio-political settings.

This document is the first in Australia to provide such a useable and flexible planning tool.



AILA National Landscape Architecture Award



Recipient: HASSELL

Title: LESS (Local-area Envisioning and Sustainability scoring System)


Recipient: HASSELL

The LESS (Local-area Envisioning and Sustainability scoring System) is a design decision-making framework developed to generate sustainable design solutions that lessen emissions, use of resources, and social disparity.

LESS allows mapping, measuring and monitoring of sustainability in urban areas and integrates four domains: social, infrastructure, governance and environmental, to allow for a triple bottom-line assessment, and identifies strengths and weaknesses in both the built environment and society to allow diagnosis of problems and successes in policy and planning.

LESS will be an invaluable tool for all levels of governance, and for landscape architects and planners, as it does not function as a ratings tool, but rather, and more importantly, as a means by which to identify opportunities for further development.





AILA National Leadership Awards

The AILA Jim Sinatra Leadership Award

Recipient: Lucinda Hartley


Lucinda is an award winning, registered Landscape Architect, who demonstrates exceptional leadership across the private and non-profit sectors. She seeks to develop a landscape identity that is deeply connected with, and committed to fostering, communities, here and overseas. Lucinda graduated with Honours in Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne, receiving an AILA Victorian Chapter Student Award. After 5 years of practice, Lucinda founded CoDesign Studio - a volunteer run, non-profit design enterprise committed to helping disadvantaged communities to envision, design and implement neighbourhood improvement projects. CoDesign engages over 400 people with projects in six countries. Lucinda is also an Associate with award-winning firm Hansen Partnership, and is regularly invited to sit on boards and committees, nationally and internationally.

Lucinda is an inspiring role model for young landscape architects: this is exemplified in her approach to a project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which she describes as devising an ‘anti-masterplan’ of urban development. Here she worked directly with communities to design, envision and then implement low-cost, high impact neighbourhood improvement initiatives. This process has been repeated locally and overseas in projects of high environmental, sustainable and cultural significance.

Lucinda sets a new direction for young leaders in landscape architecture by advocating the importance of community relationships and cross-cultural understanding as key drivers or the design of future cities and spaces. This is clearly evident in her approach, in which she seeks to empower, rather than engage, with communities, as an approach to creating places that are truly unique and sustainable and is accessible to everyone, regardless of socio-economic status. Lucinda actively uses art and landscape as a catalyst for positive changes and promotes the important role of Landscape Architecture in community and international projects that assist disadvantaged communities.


AILA National Leadership Awards

The AILA Bruce Mackenzie Leadership Award


Recipient: Gweneth Leigh



Gweneth Leigh was first drawn to the field of landscape architecture as a 13 year old. During her final year at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, she studied the Grand Canal in Mexico City, a central drainage artery 29 miles long which carries sewerage and rainwater out of the city – most of it above ground. Studying this giant piece of infrastructure and its effect on local residents opened Gweneth’s eyes to the impact that design can have on people’s health, habits and, ultimately, quality of life. This ethos continues to underpin Gweneth Leigh’s contribution to the field of Landscape Architecture and establishes her as a leader within our profession.

Gweneth’s journey so far – practitioner, writer and curator – has broadened her perspective and helped her spread the essential message about good design and healthy places. The Bruce Mackenzie Leadership Award will support her efforts in promoting the public health benefits of our profession by turning the BLOOM Exhibition into a book which can explore, in more detail, the way people engage with our public spaces, and assess what the profession can learn from these examples to improve current standards of practice.



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