The work being produced in Australia’s landscape architecture schools is at the forefront of pushing boundaries and making new connections in the discipline, but much of it does not transcend faculty walls to be seen by a wider community. The Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize identifies and shares the finest graduating projects produced in landscape architecture education across the country. Australian universities each nominate a student based on their end-of-year presentation. The projects are then blindly reviewed by an independent jury, which awards one student the national prize.
This year’s cohort of winning projects includes a leisure landscape at a former landfill site in Port Adelaide’s Garden Island that is fuelled by warm wastewater from a nearby power station, a scheme that seeks to influence the paths of tornadoes in North America to reduce property damage while stimulating tourism, and a rigorous analysis of bushfire mitigation policy in rural Western Australia that visualizes potential effects on the landscape. The myriad design approaches and the ambitious and layered nature of the projects are impressive. However, what stood out as lacking in many of the entries was a compelling argument for why a particular strategy had been adopted. The notion of temporality was generally missing graphically, with many projects presented in the “makeover” mode – what a site might look like after it is changed to a new condition – but what happens from then on?
The jury was unanimous in selecting this year’s national prize winner – Forgotten Industry, Future Form by Allison Sainty of the University of New South Wales. Sainty’s project is built upon a clearly articulated enquiry and presents a sophisticated response to an industrial heritage setting. The jury also awarded a high commendation this year, for The Space In-Between by John Williams of RMIT University. This project deserves recognition for its innovation and thorough application of research into a highly temporal proposal. The jury admires the huge achievements of these two graduates, and congratulates all those who were nominated by their universities.
National Prize winner
Forgotten Industry, Future Form – Allison Sainty, University of New South Wales
The Space In-Between: Accumulation, Residue and Post-Industrial Transformation – John Williams, RMIT University
Windscape: Responses to Tornadoes in Oklahoma, North America – Aili Hardner, Queensland University of Technology
Wastescape – Marguerite Bartolo, University of Adelaide
Tidal Wars/Emergent Edges: the Politics of Adaptation – Christopher N. Hunter, University of Melbourne
A Critical Assessment of Bushfire Risk Mitigation Practices on Cultural and Heritage Landscapes – Sue McDougall University of Western Australia
Restoration of Yollinko Park – Jennifer Dearnaley, Deakin University
On the 2015 National Prize jury were: Daniel Bennett (national president, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects), Jacky Bowring (professor of landscape architecture at Lincoln University, New Zealand) and Ricky Ricardo (associate editor, Landscape Architecture Australia).