Australian landscape architecture firm Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) has finished off a successful Australian campaign at the World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF) by taking out the ‘Landscape of the Year Award’ for their design of the National Arboretum in Canberra with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG).

TCL joins Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Ian Moore Architects , HDR Rice Daubney and CHROFI who were also winners in their respective architecture categories.

The win also caps off a momentous week for TCL who was also awarded the Rosa Barba Landscape Prize in Barcelona with Wraight + Associates for the Auckland Waterfront.

The National Arboretum was selected by a jury of some of the world's most highly regarded architectural and urban designers. It overcame competition from a shortlist of ten entries from Australia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Switzerland and Turkey.

“It is a great honour to once again win the major Landscape of the Year Award at WAF,” said TCL Director, Perry Lethlean.

“The award recognises the collaborative efforts of our key design partner, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the client, artists and other consultants in creating an arboretum of the future.

“Rather than a collection of individual trees as specimens, we wanted to create grand forests that offer unique and contrasting visitor experiences and hold a viable population to preserve vulnerable and endangered species.

“It is a strategy, a program and an ongoing event, not a design based chiefly on aesthetics.”

The National Arboretum comprises 100 forests of the world’s most endangered tree species on a 250 hectare former fire ravaged site in the centre of Canberra.

It is supported by a host of visitor, educational and research facilities including a 900-person visitor centre by TZG; a demonstration native garden, conservation and educational resource; tree and sculptural installations by renowned Australian artists, and a state-of-the-art children’s playground, which has set a new international benchmark for themed playground design.

Photography by John Gollings. 

Also announced on the night was the 2014 World Building of the Year award. This year’s prize went to The Chapel, Vietnam, designed by a21studio. 

The Chapel is a community space in a new urban ward on the outskirt of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. As a result of estate crisis, the surrounding area lacks communal centers; therefore, the Chapel is designed to be the place for people to participate in activities such as conferences, weddings and exhibitions. 

The Chapel takes advantage of materials from the owner’s previous projects such as steel frames and metal sheets. 

Commending the winning project on behalf of the festival’s super-jury, Paul Finch, WAF Programme Director, said “The judges felt this was a project that embraced history and modernity, and created a dialogue in the process.

"It has created maximum effect with minimum materials and has produced an unexpected change of pace in its urban context. 

"The opportunity has been taken to recycle and rethink materials and site, and a series of design issues have been addressed which have produced a small project that makes a big statement. 

"Colour and light have been deployed to put people at ease and the architect has found poetry in the mundane.”