The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has revealed the winners of the 2020 National Landscape Architecture Awards in its first ever virtual awards program.

AILA recognised 46 winners across 15 categories for exceptional practice, validating talent, commitment, and design excellence.

Among the total winners, 13 Awards of Excellence were delivered, acknowledging the most significant
of work for advancement in landscape architecture.

AILA CEO Ben Stockwin says AILA was pushed to explore a new and creative way to deliver the Awards announcements virtually following COVID-19 event implications.

“The pandemic brings many challenges but also presents an abundance of opportunities for landscape architects, so it was important that we were able to hold the Awards this year, to encourage innovation and excellence in built and natural environments, as we do each year,” Stockwin says.

“The fostering of awareness and recognition was crucial to the Landscape Architect industry this year
as the continuation of organisational rituals and traditions are more important than ever to maintain peer support through this time of emotional need.

“We were thrilled with the submissions that we’re received this year, and despite the global pandemic, the State and National Awards saw record-number submissions, which just highlights the
importance of our public spaces in a time such as now.”

Stockwin says the Jury was pleased to see diversity and equity were consistent themes throughout the Awards this year.

“We were particularly delighted in the strong presence of work that involved true indigenous involvement and outcomes, work that catered for the disadvantaged or less able in society, and the strong representation of small space and gardens. The Jury has recognised a handful of true standout
projects in this space.” 

A hero in its category which recognises significant and in-depth inclusion of cultural values and knowledge, North Gardens Sculpture Park Landscape Master Plan received the Cultural Heritage
Award of Excellence.

The collaborative force of Mandy Nicholson of Tharangalk Art, Glenn Romanis and Isobel Paton of BASALT Art Landscape Sculpture, and David S. Jones of Deakin University produced a strong and genuine consultation process with traditional custodians with Wadawurrung concepts of nurturing,  healing, learning, sharing and cultural relationship building.

A Landscape Architecture Award in the Cultural Heritage category was also received by UDLA for its
work in producing the University of Western Australia Cultural Heritage Mapping.

Assessing amazingly diverse work from different sectors and scales of practice, Sue Barnsley Designs
took out the Award of Excellence in Small Projects for its Mahon Pool Amenities project, of which the jury described as a simple yet memorable and poetic project which speaks of profound respect for its sublime coastal surrounds.

Three Landscape Architecture Awards in the Small Projects category were awarded to Openwork Pty
Ltd for the RMIT Building 100 Pedestrian Improvements, the city of Marion for First Avenue Reserve and to SBLA Studio for System Garden Rainforest Boardwalk.

Five projects received awards under the Gardens category, representing the most awards presented
under a single category.

Taking out the Award of Excellence for Gardens, the Arkadia Apartments project by OCULUS
illustrated the role a garden plays in connecting residents.

The project proved great thought leadership in the design and realization of a productive, human-centric, high performing garden in high-density urban living.

Landscape Architecture Award-winning projects in the Gardens category include Clifftop Garden by Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture, Nightingale 2.0 by SBLA Studio, Domic by James Birrell Design Lab and 320 George Street by Fiona Harrisson and Simon Ellis Landscape Architects.

“Collectively, this year’s recipients continued to demonstrate and advocate the demand for
excellence in landscape architecture, in both built and natural environments, that is essential to
Australia and its people,” says Stockwin.