Victoria’s Top Landscapes Honoured in AILA’s 2024 Vic State Awards

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has announced the winners of the 2024 Vic State Awards at a gala banquet held at Zinc, Fed Square, in Melbourne. The jury honoured 25 winners from a total of 68 entries across 14 categories.

Jury Chair Flynn Hart says the projects celebrate the huge contribution of landscape architects on shaping resilient, culturally conscious, climate positive and inspiring places.

“This year’s award entries demonstrate the profession’s leading position on major challenges that affect us all, now and into the future,” Flynn says.

“We are leaders in climate-positive design, we connect people to their environment and we seek to engage all stakeholders with optimism and innovation. We are a humble profession with clear values and strong voices for how we manage changing environments and connect the life within them.”


Landscape architecture brings joy and connection to communities

The Victorian Emergency Services Memorial by Rush Wright Associates won the top Award of Excellence prize for Community Contribution. The project was crafted from the need to integrate the memorialisation of the six Emergency Services organisations into the historically significant grounds of Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens. The memorial commemorates those who have fallen in the line of duty, creates spaces for small-scale services and ceremonies, and provides for daily park use.

The jury says “This project exemplifies the union of placemaking with a purpose. The design responds and builds on the existing landscape setting to cleverly integrate a memorial garden that honours the community contribution of our Emergency Services. Our role as landscape architects in creating space to hold community values and commemoration has been expertly delivered through this contemporary memorial garden to honour those who have passed.”

Site Office’s Altona Pier was celebrated with an Award of Excellence in the Civic Landscape category. Altona Pier was originally constructed in 1888 to receive people by ferry from the city to view land within the Altona Bay Estate. After more than 130 years of public use and love, the pier was damaged in a severe storm in mid-2021 and closed to the public for safety reasons amid much community anxiety about its future. This redevelopment of Altona Pier addresses the community’s goal to create a modern, safe, and functional pier fit for purpose for the next 100 years, while respecting the deep attachment to the original timber pier.

The jury says “The new Altona Pier is a cleverly conceived, beautifully detailed, exemplary example of site-responsive civic design. Rather than simply replicating the historic cranked alignment of the old structure, the designers have aligned the new pier to the Altona Street grid, bifurcating the end of the structure to create two distinct nodes and destinations. This is an elegant, functional and well-built structure that should be a feature of the Altona foreshore and civic precinct for the next 100 years.”

The Preston Level Crossing Removal Project by Tract Consultants took out the Award of Excellence in the Infrastructure category. The project is a refreshed, vibrant addition to the diverse and bustling suburb of Preston. The project sees 2km of at-grade elevated railway bookended by two new railway precincts of Preston and Bell Station. Connecting the two new stations is a newly created public space enhanced by a playful civic design of connective pathways, parks and playgrounds, and public realm amenities. Meaningful cultural engagement with Preston’s Wurundjeri heritage and its living systems are at the heart of the Bell to Preston project.

The jury says “This site responsive and sophisticated design reflects the local context of Preston and activates each of the high-quality public spaces created by the elevation of the rail in an integrated way. The project appears to have significantly improved the open space offering and most importantly, the quality of the built environment for residents, commuters and visitors, future-
proofing what will become an increasingly populated area.”

The Greenline Project Master Plan by the City of Melbourne won the top Award of Excellence for Urban Design. The Plan provides a community-driven strategy for transforming the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung – envisioning four-kilometres of connected riverfront promenade and inspiring public spaces from Birrarung Marr to Docklands. The project recognises the Birrarung as a living entity, with Traditional Owner values, underpinning opportunities for reconnecting people with diverse authentic experiences. The Master Plan defines new places where people come together to embrace the river’s beauty, history, culture and biodiversity, contributing to the city’s economy, environment, tourism, health, wellbeing and resilience.

The jury says it “recognises the visionary role of the City of Melbourne, ASPECT Studios and TCL in advocating for landscape influence in city-making. Their leadership and advocacy sets high standards, achieving transformative outcomes for the community and the environment, deserving of the Award of Excellence.”

Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities, by the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at The University of Melbourne, took out an Award of Excellence in the Research, Policy and Communications category. The project explains the evolution of the Australian university campus from the post-Second World War to the current day. It also establishes new historical knowledge, identifies campuses as catalysts for urban thinking, and demonstrates strategies for their conservation and adaptation to meet future needs in a vital tertiary sector.

The jury says “Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities is a deeply researched body of work that uncovers the transformation of the Australian university campus over time. The research contributes to a critical understanding of the campus in several ways. It serves as a record of projects, provides analysis and understanding of how they came about and offers strategies for the future design of Australian university campuses.”

All winners at the State Awards level proceed to the National Landscape Architecture Awards held later this year.

AILA is the peak body for Landscape Architecture in Australia, championing quality design for public open spaces, stronger communities, and greater environmental stewardship.

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