AILA National Conference is off to a winning start for ASPECT Studios

ASPECT insights
AILA National Conference is off to a winning start for ASPECT Studios
This year’s AILA National Conference got off to a winning start for ASPECT Studios. We were recognised with five major awards at last night’s National Landscape Architecture Awards!   The Awards aim to advance the profession by fostering awareness and recognition of the work of landscape architecture. This year, the Awards attracted 300 entries and we are honoured that our work was recognised among them.   Our work on One Central Park, in collaboration with OCULUS, received the AILA National Award for Civic Landscape. Technical advancements were a key feature of this project, which included soil and planting research, testing and development for the 7km of balcony planting and the green facade that cover the buildings in a challenging urban environment. The recycled backwater irrigation system developed for the project is also the first of its kind in Australia. The project features inviting courtyard spaces for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and socialize and also makes a substantial contribution to the promotion of landscape architecture and the advancement of culture through design advocacy.   We also received the AILA National Award for Civic Landscape for the UTS Alumni Green project, which has enlivened the heart of the University of Technology, Sydney City Campus. Once a disparate collection of buildings with extremely limited opportunities for students to gather and enjoy, the campus now provides a welcoming environment for its community to work, relax and socialise. The design has created spaces with controlled materiality and an excellent balance between hard and soft surfaces. The space flows into its surrounding buildings and streets, making it highly accessible. Lifting the ground plane has allowed adequate soil depth for growing trees on slab and lush ground covers with careful attention paid to collection of stormwater for irrigation. This has given the space a soft texture with the masterstroke of the central lawn adding a sense of calm and relaxation to a busy campus.   The Goods Line project was also recognised with an AILA National Award for Civic Landscape. This former inner-Sydney rail corridor has been re-imagined as a public campus that connects neighbourhoods and the surrounding concentration of cultural, media and educational institutions. The Goods Line is a vibrant urban park that has broad demographic appeal and, as a result, strengthens the public life of the area. The design interprets the rich industrial history of the structure while also creating an exciting new identity that is already stimulating the possibilities of adjacent spaces.   Another winning project was the Victorian Desalination Plant and Ecological Reserve, which received the AILA National Award for Infrastructure. This project represents critical infrastructure for climate adaption and is one of the largest such investments in Australia’s history. The 225 ha Ecological Reserve camouflages the Plant through a 26000m2 green roof and a dune system, which evolved from spoil. It transforms degraded land into mosaics of coastal and swampy woodlands, wetlands and dune ecologies, reconnects remnants and provides rich visitor experience. Within a very large project structure, it proves how effective collaboration, design and execution delivers better environmental outcomes.   ASPECT Studios’ fifth award went to the Port Adelaide Renewal: Hart's Mill Surrounds project, which was recognised with the AILA National Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence. This project has almost single-handedly reshaped how South Australians view ‘The Port’ by adaptively reshaping the precinct and opening it up for public uses. The former mill is a heritage-listed waterfront building that provides the backdrop for a contemporary new play space, while the sensitively reused flour shed is now fit for community uses. The project has also enabled the completion of a hike-and-bike loop and created a new destination as well as interpretation opportunities for the former industrial uses on the Port River. The colourful contrast of the play space against the red brick mill and the expansive wharf areas create a new experience as well as much needed attention on the Port community.   Awards are always wonderful to receive and it is an honour to have our contribution to the resilience and diversity of our environment recognised in this way. Recognition must also go to our clients and collaborators, whose input has been essential in creating vital spaces where people want to be.