Tourism Award of Excellence: Contour 556
Recipient: Harris Hobbs
Contour 556, Canberra’s biennial public art festival, is an exciting addition to the city’s tourism calendar and an outstanding demonstration of innovation and leadership by its founding Director /Curator, Landscape Architect Neil Hobbs and his team.
Inaugurated in October 2016, the three-week-long festival transformed the foreshores of Lake Burley Griffin into a temporary sculpture park, the lakeside buildings and landscape setting resonating with live performances and site specific works by over 48 local and international artists.
Named in reference to the water level of Lake Burley Griffin, the Festival explores the “transformative nature of public art on the public realm” - the subject of Neil’s PhD thesis - and the interconnectedness of Place, Memory and Art in the context of the Canberra’s emblematic central landscape.
The Festival’s success has ensured a new programme for 2018 with an even greater number of participating artists and the promise of an enduring future as a national event to a national audience.
Inspired by the landscape setting and commitment to raising the profile of the visual and performing arts in Canberra, Neil and his team have brought great foresight, passion and imagination in realising a Festival of this scale and ambition.
The jury highly commends Neil and his curatorial team, the participating artists and the sponsors for their vision, innovation and leadership in launching the inaugural public art biennale . It is a deserving winner for its widespread community benefits, imaginative engagement of the lakeside landscape and contribution to the cultural profile of our national capital.”
Tourism Landscape Architecture Award: National Arboretum Canberra
Recipient: Harris Hobbs, Jiom Fogarty Design, John Patrick + Bosque Studio
Collaborative work is notoriously difficult. Collaborative work incorporating ideas of several consultants, as well as community and philanthropic groups, and carried out to successful completion over several years, needs to be celebrated. The Gallery of Gardens at the National Arboretum in Canberra is one such project. Conceived on a grand scale, the seven gardens border the hillside at the rear of the Events Terrace that links the Village Centre, the Amphitheatre and the Margaret Whitlam Pavilion. In doing so, the Gallery of gardens creates a picturesque ‘backdrop’ to the expansive space that is bounded by Black Mountain to the North and Lake Burley Griffin in the distance; the magnificent Arboretum gardens laid out in between.
Harris Hobbs have designed two of the Gardens, and coordinated and managed the implementation of the work of three other landscape architects; all within the original Masterplan by Taylor Cullity Lethlean. Each garden was funded by philanthropic and/or community donations. Designers, community and philanthropic donors were all consulted during each phase of final design and implementation and the resulting work reflects the sponsors’ intent. Under such circumstances, ensuring the success of the overall design intentions becomes a major challenge. With the Gallery of Gardens that challenge has been successfully met with great skill and professionalism.