If University of Adelaide’s Masters of Landscape Architecture graduate Vu Ngoc Hung was to have his way, a native forest would inhabit the current Royal Adelaide Hospital site (RAH).

Hung’s project, ‘Invasion of Nature’, is a design concept for the RAH site and winner of the annual Rodney Owen Beames Memorial Award for Art in Landscape Architecture.

The RAH site has already had witnessed many design proposals, with Victorian practices SLASH Architects and Phillips/Pilkington winning the 2013 RAH Open Ideas Competition. Their proposal seeks to selectively remove certain secondary buildings on site after the hospital relocates to new premises, whilst retaining core heritage elements.

Hung chose to take a different approach with his proposal. Inspired by international sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Chernobyl in the Ukraine, where nature has reclaimed the sites over time, the project asserts that the RAH site is capable of growing a native forest.

It further considers which buildings and areas within the site could be decommissioned and left for nature to reclaim, balanced with a re-use program which focuses on retaining the spirit of the site for commercial, educational and civic uses.


The project was considered “powerful and evocative” by the judges, who were impressed by the brave design philosophy.


Other finalists for the Award include Nigel Reichenbach, who saw an ideal opportunity to create a landscape that was both recreational and occupational.

With courtyards and meeting spaces intersecting the landscape, Reichenbach’s vision creates a landscape for office workers.

‘Sentient Landscape’ by Fiona Doman again takes a different route, considering the impact of ubiquitous technology on our cities. She explores the application of the desirable attributes of the technology to the physical layers of the landscape, with the aim of re-establishing the connection between people and nature.

The Rodney Beams Memorial Award is sponsored by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and HASSELL. It is open to final year students in the Masters of Landscape Architecture program at Adelaide University.