2012 AILA National Landscape Architecture Award: Design

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The campus and Reconciliation Place viewed from the NLA podium. Questacon is visible on the right and the NGA view corridor is revealed through the removal of Enid Lyons Street and transplanting of some 30 mature Plane Trees. The NLA water feature was restored to match its former glory. 

The campus and Reconciliation Place viewed from the NLA podium. Questacon is visible on the right and the NGA view corridor is revealed through the removal of Enid Lyons Street and transplanting of some 30 mature Plane Trees. The NLA water feature was restored to match its former glory.  Image: Vikky Wilkes

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The refurbished NLA forecourt showing new walling and balustrade, and paved tilted plane which accentuates the verticality of the NLA facade on approach.

The refurbished NLA forecourt showing new walling and balustrade, and paved tilted plane which accentuates the verticality of the NLA facade on approach. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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The New Campus park provides for recreation for visitors to NLA and Questacon.

The New Campus park provides for recreation for visitors to NLA and Questacon. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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Native planting, organic forms and rustic materials combine to create a deliberate contrast with the highly organised and polished landscape of civic Canberra. The design approaches meet at Reconciliation Place.

Native planting, organic forms and rustic materials combine to create a deliberate contrast with the highly organised and polished landscape of civic Canberra. The design approaches meet at Reconciliation Place. Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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Overtime, the landscape rooms are to be populated with carefully selected sculptures that respond to the Humanities and Science theme, such as these installed by Questacon in 2011, which seamlessly integrate with surrounding materials. 

Overtime, the landscape rooms are to be populated with carefully selected sculptures that respond to the Humanities and Science theme, such as these installed by Questacon in 2011, which seamlessly integrate with surrounding materials.  Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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Shaded seating area in new Questacon forecourt. Surface treatments define areas for future Questacon exhibits.

Shaded seating area in new Questacon forecourt. Surface treatments define areas for future Questacon exhibits. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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New BBQ shelter by Lahz Nimmo Architects, constructed of robust timbers and weathered steel and scaled to match existing copper clad substation.

New BBQ shelter by Lahz Nimmo Architects, constructed of robust timbers and weathered steel and scaled to match existing copper clad substation. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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Native planting in the campus park include new River Gums grown from site-sourced seed and compliment the picnic shelter constructed of recycled hardwood.

Native planting in the campus park include new River Gums grown from site-sourced seed and compliment the picnic shelter constructed of recycled hardwood. Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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New terrace seating creates ‘outdoor classroom’ for Questacon.

New terrace seating creates ‘outdoor classroom’ for Questacon. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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Approach to Reconciliation Place from Parkes Place West.

Approach to Reconciliation Place from Parkes Place West. Image: Vikky Wilkes

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Masterplan of Humanities and Science Campus

Masterplan of Humanities and Science Campus Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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Native grasses and reeds compliment the rustic materials of the picnic shelter and intercept overland flow paths.

Native grasses and reeds compliment the rustic materials of the picnic shelter and intercept overland flow paths. Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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New sculptures are beginning to inhabit the space in accordance with the site master plan.

New sculptures are beginning to inhabit the space in accordance with the site master plan. Image: Spackman Mossop Michaels

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Humanities and Science Campus (Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra) by Spackman Mossop Michaels

Client: National Capital Authority

Jury comment

This design demonstrates an exemplary responsiveness to its setting of landmark buildings, including the National Library, National Gallery, and Questacon, and to an urban open space with complex relationships, circulation and viewing needs.

The design planning and then the design implementation have achieved a successful integration of the formal vistas, the structured, tree shaded sculpture rooms and the native planted, organic forms, inspired by the regional bushland, which seamlessly and appropriately links to the Reconciliation Place.

The space has been transformed to a notable addition to Canberra’s civic realm, already with a distinct identity and eminently usable and evocative spaces.


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