ACT Award of Excellence
Canberra Centenary Trail
Harris Hobbs Landscapes, Fresh Landscape Design, Anthony Burton & Associates and Makin Trax
This project is about the essence of Canberra’s relationship with its landscape. Significantly, distilling and expressing this relationship guided the approach, collaboration and commitment to driving environmentally and ecologically responsible design. This also drove a response that captured Canberra’s heritage - the value its planning has placed on the open space system.
The project completes 145 kilometres of walking and cycling paths that connect Canberra’s urban area to its rural and natural setting. In doing this, the Landscape Architectural team collected and recorded detailed site information; collaborated with landholders, Commonwealth and Territory government agencies; negotiated steep inaccessible terrain, acid sulphate soils, major roads that cross the paths; protected endangered species and overall surpassed the requirements of the Commonwealth EPBC Act.
However, it was not only this resolve and leadership that impressed the Jury in regard to ‘the delivery of a series of apparently simple dirt tracks’. The resulting high level of use by walkers and cyclists also attracted the Jury’s praise. However, given the ‘apps’ and social media profile, the trail has the potential to give a national and international profile to Canberra’s planning legacy.
Canberra Centenary Trail is more than a path linking Canberra’s open spaces, it is a link to Canberra’s heritage and an expression of the city’s symbiotic relationship with the landscape.
ACT Landscape Architecture Award
Enviro Links Design
This project is a reminder of what can be achieved, despite limited budgets, when the unique qualities of the site are given priority in the design.
The site’s cultural significance, as well as its ecological importance and landscape setting, are successfully coalesced in the spatial layout, with its restrained use of materials and the fundamental decision to protect and enhance the habitat for the endangered Hoary Sunray Daisy (Leucochrysum albicans).
Valour Park is the last of a series of memorials along the Federal Highway. From the Highway, the entry to the Park is simple, understated and enticing. However, this Park is more than a wayside stop. Located on Mt Majura on the edge of Canberra’s suburbs, the park also provides for recreational and social activities for the local community.
What is evident is that every design decision has been made with reference to the site’s environmental and aesthetic qualities. This includes; using the former service vehicle track to provide an accessible path and to ensure the existing Hoary Sunray Daisy community was not damaged; the use of sandstone walls and rocks to subtly guide visitors between the memorials and to define the daisy communities; and the use of bespoke benches, shelters, bollards and seats, all constructed from corten steel or sandstone, which reference both the memorials and the landscape of Mt Majura.
Valour Park successfully underscores the cultural significance of the memorials, inviting visitors who may come alone, in a social group or part of a ceremony to reflect on the sacrifice made in community service. It also successfully invites people to consider and enjoy our relationship with this unique landscape.
ACT Landscape Architecture Award
The Australian Centre on China in the World
Redbox Design Group
The design for the Australian Centre on China in the World successfully reflects the influences of two cultures in the context of the bushland character of the Australian National University Campus.
This design is not a ‘one-liner’, there is a sequence of spaces that shift and change in form, light and texture as fresh perspectives are reached. These subtle transformations characterise the Australian landscape and are fundamental in the ‘art’ of Chinese Gardens. For example, the approach to the Centre is defined by linear plantings and cobbled paving along with the Spirit Walls that allow visitors to enter but not harmful spirits. Vistas to the garden are glimpsed through the gaps in these walls and plantings and then framed by the Moon Gate before entering the courtyard.
Similarly, the Landscape Architects have intelligently interpreted the cross-cultural and landscape influences in the contrast of native and exotic plant material to evoke the four seasons and the use of local stone to reflect patterns and symbols important in Chinese heritage.
The Awards Jury considered the inclusion of the project in the walking tours of the campus an indication of its worthiness and contribution to the education and advocacy objectives of the Centre.