The Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects has unveiled its honour roll for 2024, with a sand garden in the regional town of Glenluce taking home the top gong (pictured top).

Jury Chair Flynn Hart says the projects celebrate the huge contribution of landscape architecture on shaping resilient, culturally conscious, climate positive and inspiring places throughout Victoria.

“This year’s award entries demonstrate the profession’s leading position on major challenges that affect us all, now and into the future,” Flynn says.

“We are leaders in climate-positive design, we connect people to their environment and we seek to engage all stakeholders with optimism and innovation. We are a humble profession with clear values and strong voices for how we manage changing environments and connect the life within them.”

Sand Garden, Racecourse Hill Glenluce by Rush Wright Associates was named the winner of the Gardens category alongside 15 other category winners chosen from 68 total entries.

Located on a three-hectare former farm, Sand Garden was constructed for just $13,500, underlining the ingenuity of Catherine Rush and Michael Wright. The design consists of slender dune ‘fingers’, contained by moulds, which create a number of verdant spaces that immerse its occupants entirely in greenery.

Romsey Ecotherapy Park by ACLA Consultants won a Regional Achievement Award and a Landscape Architecture Award in the Parks and Open Spaces category. The project is the result of a 14-year community-led initiative to transform an abandoned town primary school site into an innovative nature-based space for passive recreation. The park incorporates therapeutic gardens and water features for healing and wellbeing, a customised place space and picnic facilities.

Also winning a Regional Achievement Award, TCL’s Moe Revitalisation Project Stage 2 creates a dynamic, civic space that has become a much-loved destination for all in the region. The project includes a youth skate precinct, family areas, BBQs, a relaxing garden and an event lawn. The project successfully incorporates community ambitions into a built outcome and contributes to the revitalisation of Moe’s central business district.

UrbanFold’s Castlemaine Railway Precinct Masterplan, the final Regional Achievement Award winner, sets out a strategic framework to connect, activate and rehabilitate the Precinct. The Plan also prioritises an ongoing relationship with the Dja Dja Wurrung people. 

The Victorian Emergency Services Memorial by Rush Wright Associates won the top Award of Excellence prize for Community Contribution. The project was crafted from the need to integrate the memorialisation of the six Emergency Services organisations into the historically significant grounds of Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens.

Site Office’s Altona Pier was celebrated with an Award of Excellence in the Civic Landscape
category. Originally constructed in 1888, the Pier unites the city of Melbourne with Altona Bay Estate. This redevelopment of Altona Pier addresses the community’s goal to create a modern, safe, and functional pier fit for purpose for the next 100 years, while respecting the deep attachment to the original timber pier.

The Preston Level Crossing Removal Project by Tract Consultants was victorious in the Infrastructure category, which sees 2km of at-grade elevated railway bookended by two new railway precincts of Preston and Bell Station. Connecting the two new stations is a newly created public space enhanced by a playful civic design of connective pathways, parks and playgrounds, and public realm amenities.

The Greenline Project Master Plan by the City of Melbourne won the top Award of Excellence for Urban Design. The Plan provides a community-driven strategy for transforming the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung – envisioning four-kilometres of connected riverfront promenade and inspiring public spaces from Birrarung Marr to Docklands.

All winners at the State Awards level, including Sand Garden and the other Victorian winners, will proceed to the National Landscape Architecture Awards held later this year. To find the full list of winners, click here.