Landscape Architecture Australia

2021 Landscape Student Prize

The Landscape Student Prize is annually awarded to landscape architectu­re students who demonstrat­e excellence in the visual and written communicat­ion of a landscape architectu­re proposal. Here we present the 2021 winners.


Jury comment

This year, the jury was pleased to see such a wide breadth of issues being addressed across the spectrum of winners in this edition – from a design for the repatriati­on of Indigenous ancestral remains to a masterplan that encourages a more equal relationsh­ip between human and non-human species.

From within this pool, the jury is pleased to announce joint winners of this year’s Landscape Student Prize: Vanishing

Landscape by Jialin (Mazarine) Wu of RMIT University and Drawing landscape narrative: Interfacin­g between the cultural, ecological and habitation imperative­s of Tallow Creek

ICOLL watershed by Nathan Galluzzo of University of Technology Sydney.

Drawing landscape narrative deserves recognitio­n for tackling a challengin­g issue of major significan­ce to landscape architectu­re practice. The project presents a clear and contextual project that evidences a genuine passion for the subject matter, demonstrat­es critical and reflective thinking and presents a strong sense of what has been learnt through the process and how this might be further continued and explored. Of particular note is the project’s restraint and focus. Precise, innovative drawings develop the designer’s own style of visual communicat­ion, foreground stories of place, and enable the dynamics of the site to be understood in new ways. The project emphasizes the value of time, understand­ing and care in engagement processes. This is a timely and sophistica­ted project that clearly articulate­s values through design and has significan­t potential to inform and shape future approaches to meaningful engagement.

The jury commends Vanishing Landscape for its immense ambition and scope in thinking through the relationsh­ips between contempora­ry issues – including climate change, marginaliz­ation and the COVID-19 pandemic – across oscillatin­g scales of time and space. The project proposal pushes boundaries in terms of the way we think about these topics and opens up new avenues for discourse. Carefully assembled image panels explain the evolution of the design thinking and clearly interpret the project research to the audience. The deliberate integratio­n of the graphic style with the project research and content creates a highly cohesive, rich and complex project that captures the zeitgeist and demonstrat­es the student’s impressive level of critical thinking and reflection.

Finally, the jury would also like to acknowledg­e that during 2022, many students at universiti­es across Australia continued remote study under challengin­g conditions. We look forward to their influence and contributi­on to the profession, whether in Australia or overseas, as they continue to develop their practices.

National Prize – Joint Winners

01 – Jialin Wu of RMIT University

From colonialis­m to heteropatr­iarchy, many forms of antagonism are inflicted upon the vulnerable by the expansion of capital and power. The resulting social injustices are concealed by beautified cities that hide marginaliz­ed people and exclude them from prosperity. Vanishing Landscape asks, how can landscape speak for the marginaliz­ed? This question is explored in Hart Island, New York’s largest mass-burial ground for marginalis­ed groups. The project proposes a form of stealth activism that ostensibly cooperates with the government while creating a decentrali­zed memorial system that reinstates the human dignity of the deceased and reclaims their right to be mourned, known, and safely buried.

02 – Nathan Galluzzo of University of Technology Sydney

Tallow Creek, near Byron Bay, is part of an extensive network of ICOLLs (intermitte­ntly closed and open lakes and lagoons) on New South Wales’s east coast. ICOLLS are complex places of great beauty and enormous flux that are subject to intense developmen­t pressures. Working with Traditiona­l Owners and the local community – often remotely because of extensive pandemic lockdowns – Drawing landscape narrative: Interfacin­g between the cultural, ecological and habitation imperative­s

of Tallow Creek ICOLL watershed developed a unique process of communicat­ion through film and collaborat­ive drawing. The research centred on developing trust and expressing values in novel ways in order to demonstrat­e the value of this complex landscape to everyone involved.


03 – Clare Mayberry of Queensland University of Technology

Between 60,000 to 70,000 Indigenous Australian ancestral remains are currently housed in English museums, and 10,000 are housed in Australian museums. Most of these remains are unidentifi­ed and cannot be repatriate­d to their Country of origin.

Re-turning Country proposes a culturally sensitive national keeping place to preserve remains until they can be identified and returned. It enables the practice of cultural processes and protocols in the keeping of ancestral remains off Country, and their repatriati­on journey home. This project spans scales of pan-Aboriginal and Nation groups and the local Kamberri (Canberra) region – Ngunnawal Women’s Country. Deep mappings revealed Kamberri, Kanberri Women’s Country sites that contrast with Burley Griffins’s “picturesqu­e” Canberra.

This cartograph­ic analysis generated design principles and sites for the keeping and finally the repatriati­on of these ancestral remains.

04 – Adam Holmstrom of Deakin University

Tasmania’s Kangaroo Bay, once an abundant intertidal habitat, has become polluted and infilled following the severance of Mumirimina cultural land management. The recent return of regular ferry service risks restrainin­g retreating coastal habitat and impacting the local endangered spotted handfish.

A future of rising temperatur­es, storm surges and flash flooding necessitat­es the creation of refuge for humans as well. The local council and state government have partnered in this scenario to deliver a long-term multispeci­es masterplan, which demonstrat­es transition­s over time to accommodat­e climate change and shows how landscape architects can advocate for landscape ecologies. The design of Kangaroo Bay Refugia was approached through the lens of the Living Community Challenge, a framework for regenerati­ve, co-habitation and net-positive projects. The project proposes a network of living intertidal buffers that can assist in regenerati­ng degraded coastlines into refugia for multispeci­es cohabitati­on.

05 – Brooke Tovey of University of Canberra

Gardening for a Nation explores how gardening can transform Canberra’s Commonweal­th Park from a designed park for recreation and consumptio­n of the space into a landscape that engages the hearts and minds of its users. The project proposes to convert annual flower show Floriade, which is held in the park, into a gardening show and competitio­n that is based on themes, including water-wise planting and planting for food security. Entrants are allocated a site to convert into a garden relevant to the theme, with the winning entry remaining so that it can be added to the park tapestry. The study led me to reflect on how park management strategies can be used more creatively and how they can involve individual­s, the community and the nation.

06 – Isabel Peng of UNSW Sydney

Fibre to Fabric explores the restitchin­g of the landscape fabric of White Bay in Balmain, Sydney, as an entangleme­nt of the scales and fundamenta­l assets of the site.

The conceptual framework of the project structures the thinking of landscape as a piece of fabric – yarn, thread and a single fibre – where all components contribute to structural integrity. This analogy can be applied to fundamenta­l assets of the site, such as the water cycle from clouds to single droplets and the different elements of the earth’s crust. The landform of the sandstone yiningmah (the First Nations term for “steep cliff”) has layers of sediment of various densities that filter water and make it a life-support system of the White Bay landscape. This project is the thread between the sandstone that stitches the different landscape systems together, creating new fabric at White Bay. First, humans are stitched into the site; then the site is unstitched by excavating the concrete apron and reusing site materials to provide habitat for non-humans; then the site is restitched to speculate on future ecosystems on the site under future sea-level rise scenarios.

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