A strategic project to improve the water quality, safety and public realm of Queensland’s (QLD) Southbank Parklands has received top honours at the 2015 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects’ (AILA) QLD Awards.

A collaborative effort led by City Parklands Transitions Services with JFP, PLACE Design Group and Vee Design, the Southbank Parklands Waterway Management project won the Land Management in Landscape Architecture award before going on to take home the 2015 QLD Medal for Landscape Architecture.

“This project has both successfully improved the water quality and safety of the lagoon, which now hosts over half a million swimmers per year, and through careful intervention, creative problem solving and exemplary coordination, added further value to the visitor experience,” the judges praised.

“This reworking and adaptation has been achieved through a comprehensive approach by the landscape architects who have embraced a full understanding of the spectrum of operational and design issues, boldly reinventing a much used asset and thereby avoiding the need to create a new standalone object.”

According to AILA QLD Awards Judging Chair, Mark Fuller, this year’s program highlighted the new benchmarks being set across the state, with the work produced being “nothing short of remarkable” given the challenges the landscape industry has faced in recent times, including a volatile economy, changing political landscape, and an uncertain policy framework in areas that influence the natural and built environment.

He adds that the overriding themes that have stood out in all 14 winners – such as the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital by Conrad Gargett, Gladstone’s East Shores Development Master Plan by Urbis, and Brisbane City Council’s Vibrant laneways program – are “bold, strategic and imaginative”.

“There have been exceptional examples of planning principles, cutting-edge research, and innovative design approaches being applied to our community assets including outdoor public areas, landmarks and structures,” Fuller says.

“We’re seeing leading approaches being researched and adopted to tackle urbanisation, climate change and to assist communities’ preparedness for the future.”

The AILA QLD Awards recognise outstanding achievements by landscape architects that promote excellence in landscape planning, design and research. This year’s jury panel consisted of Fuller, Ashley Carey, Greg Grabasch, Malcolm Middleton, Suzie Rawlinson, Tom Lenigas and Wes Mortensen.


Full list of winners: