The award is presented to VicRoads, the peak organisation in the planning, design and development of Victoria’s public road infrastructure.
VicRoads has provided continued leadership in landscape architecture and the design of public infrastructure in Victoria. VicRoads is now considered a world leader in facilitating and promoting innovative and context sensitive design for public roads and their associated infrastructure. The organisation has provided, throughout its history, support for the development of landscape architecture and landscape architects.
Landscape design was formally introduced to the organisation in 1975, when the Landscape Section of the Country Roads Board was initiated with Rosa Niran leading the early work on the F19 Eastern Freeway. Later, towards the end of the 80s, there was the ground breaking Eastern Freeway design, drawing heavily on the work of architects and landscape architects to create a freeway that spoke to the driver as well as providing public space elements for adjacent suburbs. Subsequently, many major road projects came to be led or informed by landscape architects, notably the much awarded Craigieburn Bypass having as lead consultant the landscape architectural practice TCL (Taylor Cullity and Lethlean). Within VicRoads itself, the landscape division undertook the planning work for the Eastlink corridor, and the design for the Ringwood interchange, which were then delivered by Wood Marsh and the landscape architectural practice Tract.
The discipline of landscape architecture has been deeply involved in both the planning of infrastructure projects, and the landscape and visual impact assessments of many roads and bridges throughout Victoria. And the landscape architects within VicRoads have been passionate advocates for good design, contributing to the broader education of their peers, engineers and architects, and initiating original research into plants and ecology, landscape management and water sensitive urban design.
Many Australian landscape architects have worked with VicRoads, from the original planning of road and freeway alignments, to concept design, to delivery and maintenance of these projects. We would like to give particular recognition to the female landscape architects who have provided leadership. They are Rosa Niran in the 1970s, Jackie Ross in the 1980s, and Lorrae Wild from the 1990s to the present day. In addition we would like to recognise the many other landscape architects who have practiced, and continue to practice, within VicRoads.
To achieve great outcomes – or even simply good outcomes – the planning and design of infrastructure must engage with the environmental, social, economic, ethical and political concerns that such projects generate. And to their enduring credit, rather than deflecting and avoiding these complex discussions, the many landscape architects within VicRoads have risen to the challenge and involved themselves with these issues with dedication, research and professional leadership.
Staying within the realms of best practice is an ongoing endeavor requiring advocacy, research and education; as a profession we look forward to working with VicRoads into the future, and together meeting both the environmental and economic needs of Victoria. We also look forward to VicRoads’ future leadership in promoting sustainable travel outcomes for all modes of transport across the transport network.