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AILA Tasmania Chapter




2011 AILA Tasmania Awards in Landscape Architecture



Landscape Architects: Inspiring Place

Saffire, a luxury eco-tourism resort on the Freycinet Peninsula, has undergone a remarkable landscape transformation over the past 7 years from its previous existence as a degraded public caravan park.  Throughout this process, the jury acknowledges the outstanding leadership and influence of the landscape architect in guiding the client, contractors and project consultants through a clearly articulated, principles-based approach to site design & management for long-term sustainability.

The outcome provides visitors to the resort with an intimate, uplifting experience in a high-quality landscape which is respectful of the local physical and cultural environment and regenerative on many levels.  The project eloquently demonstrates how whole-of-landscape management and construction approaches aimed at the protection, enhancement and regeneration of remnant natural systems can creatively expand and add value to conventional landscape design expectations for high-end & nature-based tourism developments.

The jury considers that this project persuasively coveys the key role of landscape architecture in fostering a deep sense of stewardship and engagement with the unique Tasmanian landscapes that support, inspire and delight both visitors and inhabitants alike.

Saffire is a project of remarkable vision and accomplishment. The jury was unanimous in their decision to award it the 2011 AILA TASMANIA Medal for Landscape Architecture.

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AILA Tasmania Excellence Award for Urban Design in Landscape Architecture

Kangaroo Bay Urban Design Strategy

Landscape Architects: Inspiring Place

The Kangaroo Bay Urban Design Strategy (2006) establishes a vision and mechanisms for the creation of a dynamic mixed-use urban precinct, drawing on the Kangaroo Bay Strategic Directions Framework previously developed by Inspiring Place in 1998. 

The 2006 Strategy responds to the physical and cultural qualities of the site, creating links to Bellerive Village and Rosny Park and promoting increased use of the place through the establishment of clear urban design principles and guidelines to determine future built form outcomes.  The Strategy has since motivated further development of detailed urban design guidelines (2008) and land re-zoning (2009) instruments to achieve the possibilities envisaged within the Strategy, with the landscape architect also playing a key role in these initiatives.

Over a period of several years, Inspiring Place has maintained an ongoing working relationship with the Clarence City Council to provide assistance with the initial stages of implementation of the Strategy – with completion of each successive stage inspiring Council’s investment and commitment to the next.  The project provides an excellent example of the potential for landscape architects to play a key leadership role in visioning and delivery of more sustainable urban design and development futures for business, local government and communities.

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AILA Tasmania Excellence Award for Design in Landscape Architecture

Long Beach Promenade, Lower Sandy Bay

Landscape Architects: Hobart City Council

The driving force behind the design of this iconic Hobart foreshore destination is a deep respect for local landscape character and site.  Completed in 2009, the new foreshore development creatively responds to the challenges posed by climate change, increased urban density, shifting demographics and ageing public infrastructure to forge new expressions of local identity and enhance social and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to the area.
Incorporating an all-abilities playground, extensive waterfront promenade and multiple interlinked spaces for relaxation & social interaction, it is a place where the landscape designer’s vision and skill is consistently and thoughtfully applied to enhance usage and amenity of the site.  Ecological conditions and features drive design motifs and spatial expression, providing additional layers of meaning to be subtly revealed and accumulated over time.

The jury was impressed by the high quality of masterplanning and design detailing of the precinct, including the evidence of extensive multi-disciplinary collaboration and participation in its successful implementation over many years.  The result is a valuable long-term community asset, much loved by local residents and visitors and strongly evocative of local culture, history and ‘spirit of place’.

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AILA Tasmania Award for Design in Landscape Architecture

University Central Mall

Landscape Architects: Urban Initiatives

The brief for this project required the landscape architect - using sustainability as the driving design philosophy - to fashion a central hub or “University Heartland” for student activity and amenity from a series of underutilised courtyards and disjointed external spaces at the UTAS Sandy Bay Campus, Hobart.  The final design solution has delivered on those requirements in spades. By deploying an almost ‘invisible hand’ approach to the design, grand gestures have been avoided in favour of allowing the strengths and characteristics of the design to emerge gradually over time, as users become familiar with the place.

Through artful manipulation of existing spatial relationships and forging new site linkages the designers have created a high-quality, engaging and connective central landscape ‘spine’ which builds on existing strengths and assets of the university, promotes social inclusion and improves the overall vitality and amenity of the Campus.

Numerous design challenges, including provision of continuous disability access throughout the multi-level site and incorporation of access & maintenance points for a range of underground services and building heating systems have been confidently resolved with minimal groundplane disturbance and a consistently high level of attention to construction detailing and finishes.

The jury commends the designers of the University Central Mall for the quality of the design resolution which provides an adaptable, attractive and highly functional open space asset to support the core values, aspirations and functional requirements of the University management, staff and student community.

Partners: Gandy & Roberts – Structural Engineers; John Reddy Pty. Ltd. – Managing Contractor

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AILA Tasmania Award for Design in Landscape Architecture

Fleurtys Cafe & Farm Walks

Landscape Architects: Susan Small Landscape Architects

The brief for this project was to create an engaging and accessible landscape setting for a small-scale cut flower farm and cafe development in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel district, forty kilometres south of Hobart.  Working within an extremely limited budget, the landscape architect has successfully integrated requirements for maintaining environmental integrity alongside productive farm capacity, together with improved access and enjoyment of a diverse range of spaces within the site.

Sustainability imperatives drive landscape design and planning decisions throughout in an unobtrusive and understated manner – from the secluded driveway & carpark access through intimate sheltered gardens and viewing terraces adjacent to the cafe, to an extended network of informal pathways connecting fruit and berry orchards, farm dams and native bushland, providing multiple opportunities for exploration and appreciation of the broader site landscape and history.

The farm also serves as the venue for an annual sculpture trail exhibition and artist-in-residence program, progressively incorporating artworks acquired through these ventures throughout the site, to support ongoing visitor and community engagement.  The jury considers this project eloquently demonstrates how, even with very constrained resources, small business and tourism ventures can develop significant value-adding and future growth potential through strategically incorporating intelligent landscape design.

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AILA Tasmania Award for PLanning in Landscape Architecture

Design Guidelines for Nature-Based Tourism – Victoria

Landscape Architects: Inspiring Place

This draft set of guidelines, developed as a key component of the Victorian Government’s Nature-Based Tourism Strategy 2008-2012, demonstrates an important new direction for the profession.  The Landscape Architect’s leadership role in the project was inspired by the maxim that in nature-based tourism “the most important thing of an eco-lodge is that it is not the most important thing”. Rather, it is the deeply personal interaction with nature made possible by sensitive site selection, site planning, landscape management and design that is most critical to success – tasks that are clearly the domain of landscape architecture.

Through an extensive consultation process with a broad range of stakeholders, Inspiring Place and Gregory Burgess Architects have articulated within this document a clear pathway for planners, owners, investors, designers, developers and managers to better understand and make decisions about the many ways sustainable, site-responsive landscape architecture and design strategies can support more successful nature-based tourism experiences, now and into the future.

The stakeholder consultation and development process highlighted to participants the importance of landscape characteristics - in this case the specific and particular values of a range of Victorian landscape eco-types - as the lynchpin of the nature-based tourism experience.  It is a leading example which the jury hopes will inspire other states to follow.

Partners: Gregory Burgess Architects

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AILA Tasmania Water Sensitive Urban Design Award

Derwent Estuary Water Sensitive Urban Design

Landscape Architects: Urban Initiatives

An initiative of the Derwent Estuary Program, this pilot project aimed at encouraging the adoption of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) techniques to improve the overall health and water quality of the estuary ecosystem.  A number of sites from different locations around the Derwent estuary were selected and analyzed for their suitability for retrofitting and establishment of WSUD initiatives.  Comparative modeling of alternative design proposals for each site was carried out to determine their relative potential to contribute to improved stormwater quality outcomes, with design interventions ranked for future construction according to their assessed level of impact and achievability within that particular context.

While relatively modest in terms of overall size and budget, the jury commends this project for its analytical approach and design methodology, which provides valuable insights and support for broader-scale application, and which highlights the value of evidence-based landscape design processes for building community understanding and support for WSUD initiatives.

Partners:  Aquatic System Management Derwent Estuary Program; University of Tasmania

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Perceptions of directions being taken by the profession
and the challenges and opportunities being taken up by members.

The 2011 AILA Tasmania 2011 awards submissions encompassed a diverse range of projects, which broadly represented the sweep of current thinking and practice directions of the landscape architectural profession at local and national level. Projects were submitted in the categories of design, planning, land management and urban design.  In general, the projects submitted for award consideration demonstrated high standards of design analysis and technical resolution - indicating the level of maturity and future growth potential for the profession in this state.  The only award category which received no submissions was ‘Research and Communication’ – perhaps explicable at least in part by the fact that to date there has not been an AILA accredited university program available within Tasmania – a situation hopefully soon to be remedied.

Jury members were impressed by the depth of analysis of sustainability parameters within the projects, with a number of entries describing detailed design and land management strategies suitable for application across a range of landscape scales, and most submissions addressing social sustainability concerns as an integral component of site design and management. This accords with practice at a national level, and it is encouraging to see the large majority of submissions now referencing the AILA Australian Landscape Principles as baseline practice - another indication of the profession’s ongoing development.

It is also clear from entries received that Tasmania’s relatively small size and population base affords limited opportunities for working within large-scale budgets and consultancy teams.  The flipside of this, however, appears to be that practitioners benefit from increased capacity to develop close, and frequently long-term, working relationships with clients, including government bodies, as the competition pool is relatively smaller than in other states.  This characteristic undoubtedly encourages innovation and offers emerging designers in particular a much broader scope of potential design opportunities than would be typically available to this sector in other states or major city centres.  It also appears to prove the adage that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – with a number of highly creative and cost-effective design solutions inspired by limited budgets. Local practices could potentially use this point-of-difference to attract new staff from larger population areas – as it provides an unusual advantage within the national context.

There were many projects which the jury considered meritorious which did not receive awards in 2011, although this should not necessarily be viewed as an indication of deficiency in design approach or technical implementation.  Indeed, in a number of cases, the jury wishes to strongly encourage designers to resubmit projects for award consideration at some point in the future when material aspects such as vegetation layers of the design have matured or developed to a point where a jury could more reliably assess their contribution to the overall spatial expression and/or environmental performance of the project.

The jury also wishes to note (and commend) the clear and unambiguous presence of an identifiably ‘Tasmanian’ landscape aesthetic, with many submissions displaying an intimate knowledge of site history and culture borne of a deep understanding and respect for the extraordinarily unique and iconic landscapes of this island state.  This is a characteristic which deserves to be cherished and nurtured, for it augers well for those working within a profession increasingly being asked to lead others towards such re-engagement via growing involvement in new fields of practice including nature-based tourism development and sustainable city and community design.


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