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Garden Design

Victoria Landscape Architecture Awards 2017

James Beattie

James Beattie

August 7, 2017

This year’s Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards has seen an impressive list of landscapes take out top honours. From native grasslands and gallery gardens to large scale native restoration projects, there’s something for everyone in this year’s winners list.

Of the 36 entries across eleven categories in 2017 there were a total of thirteen awards handed out. The strong field saw the categories of play spaces and parks and open space receive the most entries, but the overarching theme amongst all the winners was landscapes and their ability to enhance enjoyment and health through good design.

Adam Nitschke, Awards Jury Committee Chair, AILA Victoria said,

“Participants are to be commended for the impressive quality of projects, which, drawn together, highlight the breadth of influence that landscape architecture exerts across our built and natural environment. This collection of projects makes a significant contribution to the future health, liveability and resilience of our cities, suburbs and regional centres.”


In the category of Parks and Open Space, the Award of Excellence 2017 was given to the Wooten Road Reserve Interpretation Space, design by GLAS Landscape Architecture. The expansive 3 hectare site was inspired by the idea of ‘community habitat,’ putting natural ecology right along side active recreation with a series of walkways and play spaces that tell the history of the site in a way that engages the local Tarneit community. Sumptuous masses of native grasses are are a nod to the grasslands that once blanketed the area and a series of serpentine pathways allow easy access through the stunning array of breeze-catching grass.


The Infrastructure Landscape Architecture Award 2017 was given to the Jock Marshall Nature Reserve Walk at Monash University, designed by Urban Initiatives. The landscape has been used by the university for years as an education, research and conservation tool by providing students with a real-world example of a working natural ecology. The team at Urban Initiatives designed a network of raised walkways and paths, allowing students and faculty better access to the wetland site in order to enhance education outcomes, while at the same time augmenting the cultural and aesthetic values of the site.

Extensive use of materials like steel and wood work well with the existing landscape, with raised and ground walkways affording students and staff opportunities to study ecology in the tree tops or ponds with ease and safety.


In a similar vein, the Landscape Management Award of Excellence 2017 was awarded to the Armstrong Creek Rejuvenation project, a joint venture between the developer of a new estate on the Bellarine Peninsula, Waralily, and the landscape architecture firm BgLA.  The site is a considerable 23 hectares and has been revegetated with a suite of 80 species of plants of local provenance. Some 600 000 individual plants have been planted on the site with almost 10 kms of walkways, bike paths and boardwalks to encourage the local community to use the site.

Waralily, a the new housing development abutting the Armstrong Creek, is typical of new developments around Australia. Close-quarter living and minimal backyard space make large green spaces like these essential to residents’ longterm health and the area’s liveability in general. In the days of shrinking backyards, large-scale restorations like these have almost wholly supplanted personal green spaces, making them important additions to suburbs’ longterm viability.

BgLA’s design is a well deserving winner, with its retention of long since dead trees as habitat juxtaposed to the lush new wetland and emergent planting that surround them.


Things get decidedly more garden-like down the category list, with two awards being handed out in the gardens category.

The Garden Award of Excellence 2017 was awarded to the National Gallery of Victoria Grollo Equiset Garden by landscape architecture firm OCULUS. This project was a refurbishment of the existing green space at the rear of the NGV International on St Kilda Road, which is one of the most extensive green roofs the city boasts.

OCULUS designed a series of perennial plantings that bring riots of colour and movement to the site throughout the seasons, as well as an extensive kitchen garden planting for the restaurants operating inside the NGV. The refurbishment was seen as an opportunity to not only acknowledge the gardening trends of the 21st century, but the food trends as well. The NGV Grollo Equiset Garden is an accurate reflection of the times, a perfect example of what a modern garden is in a city context.


The second garden category winner is the stunning new Towers Road Residence in Toorak by firm TCL (Taylor Cullity Lethlean), which was awarded the Gardens Landscape Architecture Award 2017. The garden was designed with a sense of embrace in mind, described by the firm itself as a garden of ‘structured chaos’.

The front gardens are a mix of the old and new. Well established silver birches have been retained and highlighted by the installation of sweeping lawns and perennial plantings. The back garden is a layered mix of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and trees, underplanting with yet more perennials and ground covers. This area definitively addresses the ‘structured chaos’ idea in a very complete way. The moving feast of plantings is trumped by the permanency of the metal arbor, which adds consistency and a reference point to the garden as the seasons change.

The full winner’s list is as follows:

Category 1: Civic Landscape (Not awarded)

Category 2: Parks and Open Space
Award type: Parks and Open Space Award of Excellence
Project: Wooten Road Reserve Interpretation Space
Entrant: GLAS Landscape Architects
Sponsor: Fleming’s Nurseries

Category 3: Play Spaces
Award type: Play Spaces Landscape Architecture Award
Project: Valley Reserve SPARC
Entrant: Playce
Sponsor: Playrope

Award type: Play Spaces Landscape Architecture Award
Project: Rosebud Foreshore Playspace
Entrant: HASSELL
Sponsor: Playrope

Category 4: Infrastructure
Award type: Infrastructure Award of Excellence
Project: Remembrance Drive Interchange
Entrant: OCULUS in collaboration with VicRoads and Paul Thompson
Sponsor: ACO

Award type: Infrastructure Landscape Architecture Award
Project: Jock Marshall Nature Reserve Walk
Entrant: Urban Initiatives
Sponsor: ACO

Category 5: Cultural Heritage (no entries)

Category 6: Land Management
Award type: Land Management Award of Excellence
Project: Armstrong Creek Rejuvenation (with Waralily)
Entrant: GbLA
Sponsor: Fleetwood Urban

Category 7: Tourism (no entries)

Category 8: Urban Design
Award type: Urban Design Award of Excellence
Project: Hawthorn Arts Centre Civic Space
Entrant: Site Office
Sponsor: Street Furniture Australia

Category 9: Landscape Planning
Award: Landscape Planning Landscape Architecture Award
Project: University Square Master Plan
Entrant: City of Melbourne, City Design Studio

Category 10: Research, Policy and Communication Award of Excellence
Award: Research, Policy and Communication Award of Excellence
Book: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Sustainability: Creating Positive Change Through Design
Entrant: Joshua Zeunert
Sponsor: AUSTRAL

Category 11: Community Contribution
Award type: Community Contribution Landscape Architecture Award
Project: The Journey Interactive Map
Entrant: Tract Consultants
Sponsor: City of Melbourne

Category 12: Small Projects
Award type: Small Projects Landscape Architecture Award
Project: Marnebek Sensory Courtyard
Entrant: Jeavons Landscape Architects
Sponsor: Intergrain

Category 13: Gardens
Award type: Gardens Award of Excellence
Project: NGV Grollo Equiset Garden
Entrant: OCULUS
Sponsor: Lawn Solutions Australia

Award Type: Gardens Landscape Architecture Award
Project: Towers Road Residence
Entrant: TCL
Sponsor: Lawn Solutions Australia

Victoria Future Leader Awards
Award type: Future Leader Award Graduate
1) Georgia Chisolm
Sponsor: ASPECT Studios
2) Nathan Collins
Sponsor: Taylor Cullity Lethlean

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