Full scope of architecture among 2015 Victorian Premier's Design Awards entries
2015 Victorian Architecture Awards
Winners announced for 2015 BDAV Awards

The MacKenzie Falls Gorge Trail by Hansen Partnership took out the Architectural Design category prize at the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards, edging out a stellar line up of Victorian architecture projects.

Held recently at the Government House in the presence of Victoria’s leading designers and architects, the event saw a ground-breaking high-end broadcast camera designed by Blackmagic Design and an innovative food distribution truck designed by CobaltNiche Design and VMS Group for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, jointly winning the 2015 Premier’s Design Award of the Year, the highest design honour in Victoria.

In the Architectural Design category, Hansen’s MacKenzie Falls was placed ahead of over 30 projects, with familiar names such as Spowers, Andrew Maynard Architects, NH Architecture, ARM Architecture, Chris Connell and Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCB) all in the running for the award.

See the full shortlist here.

Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley MP says that the Awards honour and celebrate the products, processes and projects from the past year that have used design thinking to reshape the way people live, interact, do business and see the world.

Congratulating this year’s winners and finalists, Minister Foley says that they demonstrated the incredible diversity of Victoria’s design sector, a key part of the state’s $23 billion creative economy playing a significant role in shaping the jobs and industries of the future.

Best in Category awards were presented across six main design categories including Product Design, Architectural Design, Service Design, Digital Design, Design Strategy and Communication Design. All the nominees were assessed by a panel of leading design experts from Australia and overseas, with the winners representing the best of design, creativity and innovation in Victoria.

Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, which manages the Premier’s Design Awards on behalf of the Victorian Government, says that this year’s calibre of entries showcased the very best of Victoria’s design capability.

According to Gien, the Awards are an important vehicle to promote the value of design and its role in driving innovation and prosperity in Victoria and Australia.

ABOUT THE MACKENZIE FALLS GORGE TRAIL (courtesy of Premier's Design Awards)


The destruction of a footbridge during flooding in the Grampians National Park, Victoria, delivered a unique opportunity to explore and implement a new trail alignment re-connecting MacKenzie Falls to the historical Zumsteins Picnic Ground. hansen partnership prepared a concept plan for the MacKenzie Falls Precinct in order to guide the preparation of construction documentation for implementation works under Parks Victoria’s flood recovery program. The trail alignment was designed to emphasise natural features and identifies a more inspired route for visitors. A newly aligned footbridge, expanded mesh steps and a walkway contribute to the trail’s presence and identity within the region.



Challenging site conditions called for an alternative methodology and documentation process to standard design and construction projects. The remoteness and irregularity of the site informed the design process and final output. This desire to seek a more compelling alternative was thoroughly explored, with the major considerations being: safety, accessibility, experience and a proximity to nature. It was expected there would be difficulties in communicating the design intent with the construction team given the environs. We opted to use typical details that responded to the irregular terrain with the major considerations being ease of construction and a focus on nature.


The new trail provides a more intimate route, drawing users to locations previously undiscovered, including exposure to a tall rock escarpment, experiencing alternate sides of the river and new views to the lower falls. Users can also now enjoy proximity to the MacKenzie River, rather than being directed up the ridge line. Another major area of impact consideration was climate change resilience. Careful consideration was given to material choice, location and form to ensure their presence in the landscape would endure in a fire and flood prone bushland environment. The design has withstood serious bushfire to date with little damage.


MacKenzie Falls Gorge Trail – Best in Category, Architectural Design

Melbourne Art Book Fair – Best in Category, Communication Design

Placing Melbourne at the Forefront of Sustainability – Best in Category, Design Strategy

Elements – Best in Category, Digital Design

See all the Winners and Finalists of 2015 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards.

Photography by Andrew Lloyd