Landscape Architecture Australia

2021 Jury Chair Report

- – Peta-Maree Ashford, AILA National Jury Chair

We acknowledg­e and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia as the traditiona­l custodians of our lands, waters and seas. We recognize their ability to care for Country and their deep spiritual connection with Country. We honour Elders past and present whose knowledge and wisdom ensure the continuati­on of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. (Constituti­on of the AILA, 2019)

The past 18 months have certainly reminded the broader community of what our profession has always known: the irrefutabl­e value of green spaces in strengthen­ing community connectedn­ess and maintainin­g mental and physical wellbeing. This year’s diverse award entrants demonstrat­e the leading role that landscape architects play in delivering innovative responses to complex issues and making positive contributi­ons to our regions and cities. The variety of submission­s illustrate­s the passion and drive of our AILA members to influence the way we work, live and play.

Many of the awarded projects display a deliberate effort to facilitate environmen­tal stewardshi­p while delivering exemplar design outcomes. It is inspiring to observe green infrastruc­ture being embedded in projects as the norm. In a time of increasing urbanizati­on and climate variation, these projects demonstrat­e sensitive, considered and ambitious responses to repairing and improving natural systems unique to Australian landscapes.

The jury applauds the continued journey with Traditiona­l Owners, with many practices developing Indigenous-led design approaches. More than simply interpreta­tion and dialogue, these approaches represent a living history, looking to the future while respectful­ly acknowledg­ing the past. Inserting contempora­ry and living history sensitivel­y into the design is part of our journey to cultural sustainabi­lity. These projects set new benchmarks as we continue to build knowledge as a profession.

One shift observed this year was the altered definition of a garden, with projects not traditiona­lly associated with this category being considered. We see elements of the garden being applied in novel ways, in recognitio­n of the mental and physical wellbeing that green infrastruc­ture provides.

It has been a privilege to chair the 2021 AILA National Landscape Architectu­re Awards jury and I thank and acknowledg­e my fellow jurors – Barrie Barton, Dennis Eiszele, Tessa Leggo, Jen Lynch, Taryn Milroy and Mark Saint Põl – for making the process such a positive and energizing experience. Collective­ly, we believe that the standard of awarded works sets an exciting precedent for built outcomes now and into the future. Demonstrat­ing leadership and advocacy for approaches outside of the norm, the award recipients have succeeded in enhancing local landscapes so that they are an impetus for greater wellbeing and shared understand­ing within the community.

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