Receiving a record number of entries, this year’s NSW Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (AILA) Awards were announced at a virtual launch event.
2021 AILA NSW Award of Excellence for Health and Education Landscape - Westmead Hospital Redevelopment, Central Acute Services Building
Innovative, flexible design and a record number of entries have defined the 2021 NSW Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (AILA) Awards.
In a year where the spotlight has been firmly on green outdoor space, a live streamed event hosted by design enthusiast Tim Ross revealed the most outstanding projects in the state across 16 categories including urban design, infrastructure, play spaces, health and education landscape and community contribution.
Jury chair Joshua French, said last year’s pandemic, and the neighbourhood lockdowns it triggered, focused unprecedented attention on the need for exemplary outdoor spaces.
“Everyone started going to their local park or walking track and those places became really important to people,” French said. “We felt more connected to those spaces like never before.”
Among the winners were Tract Consultants for the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment in the Health and Education Landscape category and Arcadia Landscape Architecture who took out the Play Spaces category for the Sales Ring Playground.
The jury described the Westmead Hospital Redevelopment as ‘a place for people’ above all else: “(This is) an exemplar project that has been thoughtfully conceived and integrated with the architecture and urban fabric to present an inspiring and immersive health precinct landscape setting.”
AILA NSW Award of Excellence for Infrastructure went to ASPECT Studios with Grimshaw and the City of Sydney for the NSW CBD and South East Light Rail project, which has dominated the inner-city landscape of Sydney in recent years. It demonstrated the importance of collaboration across all design and construction disciplines.
2021 AILA NSW Award of Excellence for Infrastructure - CBD and South East Light Rail NSW
“The landscape architecture is both seen and unseen through the ingenious integration of services, track and safety requirements,” the jury said. “These are carefully designed people-focused public spaces, planned for and designed with holistic thinking that broke down silos across the project teams to successfully stitch together the work of multiple disciplines.”
While residential gardens need to fit the brief for a handful of individuals, public spaces require a broader response to cater to all-ages, levels of ability and even mental wellness. Winners demonstrated the need for meaningful community consultation during a time of high engagement. French said public users of green space have higher expectations than ever and the landscaping community has responded accordingly.
“The industry rose to the challenge exceptionally well in terms of being agile and innovative and really moving with what the community was after,” French said.
“The consideration of how to configure the space and the quality of the space created is crucial. It is about connectivity and how we feel in those spaces - comfort, shade and the social arrangement. Some people choose to go to quiet and contemplative spaces and some people sought walking loops to exercise with friends and family.”
Along with showcasing the best and most beautiful projects around the state, French said the 2021 awards advanced the conversation in terms of the critical role of public space in meeting economic, social and health outcomes.
“The consideration of green space needs to be up there on the same level as hospitals, roads and public transport in terms of what we expect it to deliver for our communities,” he said.
The winners were announced at a virtual launch event hosted by design enthusiast Tim Ross on Wednesday, 9th June at 5pm.
To see the full list of winners click here.