The winners of this year’s Australian Institute of Architects National Awards highlight the way green infrastructure is becoming “embedded into projects as the norm,” according to National Jury Chair, Sara Padgett Kjaersgaard.
“This year’s awards continue to demonstrate the breadth of work of landscape architectural practice and research, and the influence the profession has in leading the creation of high performing, meaningful and beautiful spaces that support the health and well-being of our communities,” she said.
While the awards put the spotlight on the landscape architecture component, many of the winning projects required high levels of ingenuity, craftsmanship and collaboration from the builders. Perth’s Optus Stadium and Stadium Park, the major winner, can serve as a perfect example. It won the AILA Award for Excellence in the Urban Design category and the Play Spaces category.
Designed by HASSELL, the 41-hectare precinct has transformed a previously underutilised site into a vibrant community precinct. In fact, the judges noted the project was subject to significant site constraints relating to flooding, contamination, settlement and access.
The design feels “more parkland then sports precinct, re-establishing the space as an important meeting place for the region,” the judges said. “The pragmatic design ties the new precinct with its surrounds via an integrated transport strategy focused primarily on public transport and legible pedestrian connections.”
These connections include a footbridge that connects to East Perth and a ferry terminal.
Multiplex was the lead contractor for the Westadium consortium. More than 100 contracts were issued by the company over the duration of the build, which had commenced in mid-2015.
Delivery required around 21 Olympic swimming pools worth of concrete for the 60,000-seat stadium itself, approximately 2,000 concrete piles, eight tower cranes and over 5,800 workers directly employed over the period.
Delivery required around 21 Olympic swimming pools worth of concrete for the 60,000-seat stadium itself.
Construction took 36 months in total, with completion reached in late 2017.
The Landscape Architecture Award 2018 Tourism project was won by HOTA Outdoor Stage on the Gold Coast, and the prize is shared by a collaboration of the landscape architects and masterplanners including CUSP, TOPOTEK1 and ARM Architecture.
The HOTA stage combines extensive hard and soft landscaping with a roof design for the stage that appears to defy gravity. It is the first phase of the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct and hosted its first event in November 2017.
The Judges said the project “successfully demonstrates how open space can foster public life. The seamless integration of landscape and architecture is a testament to the effective partnership between client, community and the multi-disciplinary design team.”
The construction was led by ADCO, with the engineering of the stage structure designed by ARUP.
The structure incorporates ten 10-tonne support beams that were welded in-situ, with its footings buried 15 meters deep into the ground. The freestanding structure also features an infill with a distinctive “voronoi”, or polygon, pattern.
According to ARUP, the complex geometry necessary to achieve the structure “came about through exceptional collaboration between the client, contractor, design team, shop detailer and steel fabricator—a construction-led approach to design and innovative structural engineering.”
Another complex project where the built form and landscaping are entwined—the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre—is the winner in the Garden Landscapes category.
The Plenary Health Group consortium included an architectural team of Silver Thomas Hanley, DesignInc and McBride Charles Ryan; and the construction team of Grocon and PCL joint venture.
The AILA judges said the VCCC has “transformed thinking about what is possible in health design in Australia through intrinsically integrating the curative benefits of access to landscape, views, natural light and sunshine within the design.”
Garden and landscape spaces include a rooftop park on level seven, private rainforest niches and courtyards within the building and surroundings, and terraces featuring productive trees and edible understoreys.
The Parks and Open Space Category was won by the Rockhampton Riverside by URBIS.
The Riverside project revived the cyclone-damaged heart of Rockhampton’s retail and civic precinct. The project was constructed by a team of local trades and contractors, led by Rockhampton City Council.
“The high-quality materials and detailing and successful integration of art, technology and play create a vibrant robust urban waterfront."
“The high-quality materials and detailing and successful integration of art, technology and play create a vibrant robust urban waterfront,” the AILA judges said.
The Darebin Yarra Trail Link won the Infrastructure category. It was designed by the VicRoads Urban Design Team and VicRoads Structural Design Team.
The project comprises a 2.7 km shared-use trail for cyclists and pedestrians, featuring a 200m bridge connecting Latrobe Golf Club to Willsmere Park and a 50m bridge spanning the Yarra River, a works package completed by contractor Coleman Rail will.
The judges said the multidisciplinary team had delivered an infrastructure project that is an “exemplar for Australia.”
EVE Apartments in Erskineville, Sydney, won an award in the Garden Landscapes category for the multi-faceted greening integrated with development, constructed by Richard Crookes Construction.
The design by 360 Degrees Landscape Architects included vertical greening with rainforest vines, external garden terraces, roof gardens and landscaped courtyards.
The jury commended the landscape architects for establishing “a unique garden typology that promotes engagement and interaction with a diverse mix of species whilst enhancing the well-being of residents in medium density apartment living.”
See the full list of winning projects and the jury citations here.