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  2003 AILA Victoria & Tasmania
Awards in Landscape Architecture

Flemings Nurseries
Major Partner

design awards
Award for Design Excellence


Landscape Architect:
City of Melbourne in association with Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Paul Thompson and Swaney Draper

City of Melbourne


Jury Comments

The only new major park within Melbourne’s urban milieu to be realized since the Nineteenth Century, Birrarung Marr offers a strong commitment to contemporary design through its internal rigor and the resolving of its context. The jury was strongly impressed by the ability of the project to deal with the existing fabric of the Nineteenth Century Yarra River landscape and park system, while strengthening links between Melbourne’s recreational zone and the CBD.

The park embraces aspects of its adjacent siblings, view, vistas, the parterre garden and makes it its own. The native planting displays on the embankments, complex geometry and the artificial topography that defines pedestrian movements, sets up new views of the city and the adjacent parklands and carves out the unconfigured functional spaces.

The jury looks forward to the maturing of the plantings and the implementation of Stage Two, with improved connections and relationships to Federation Square, the railway and the city to the north.  

The scheme embraces the existing Elm walk and ornaments large areas of lawn and granitic sand with the restrained use of garden beds and the careful placement of furniture and lighting elements, the bridge and the viewing platform. The scheme maintains a contextually strong focus on plant material while offering new directions for the use of native vegetation in contemporary landscapes.

The whole is greater than the sum of its disparate parts.

Image Gallery
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    The curved river wall provides a transition between the terraced riverbank area with Moreton Bay figs near Princes Bridge, and the flatter area to the east. It also creates an interlude along the riverside promenade and a gathering space for small events. [John Gollings]     The swale next to Speakers Corner, with shell grit paving, River Red Gums, and Macrozamia communis on the south-facing embankment of the middle terrace. [Ben Wrigley]     A small ‘wetland’ provides detail at the south-eastern end of the park and a buffer to traffic in Batman Avenue. What might have been a simple garden bed in another time and place is here part of the stormwater drainage system and a reference to the natural history of the site. [Ben Wrigley]     The riverside promenade. [Ben Wrigley]     Little was changed along the old terraced riverbank area near Princes Bridge, except for reconstruction of the derelict stairs and introduction of ‘blade’ balustrades and seating to deflect pedestrian traffic away from the level change while keeping views open to the river. [Ben Wrigley]

     The footbridge, shell grit swale and cycad embankment, with Speakers Corner in the background. [R Jones]     Massed Brachyscome between hedged shrubs including Eriostemon feature on the north-facing embankment. The eucalypts along the ‘dry riverbeds’ will provide the major structural planting for the park. [R Jones]

Photographs: John Golling, Ben Wrigley, Ron Jones

2003 Awards Launch • Awards 2003 Design • Awards 2003 Planning • Awards 2003 Environment • Awards 2003 Graduate & Student