The Australia Award for Urban Design, Australia’s premier award for urban design achievement, acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the social, economic and environmental development of our cities and towns. This year, here were 46 entries from across the country – from local councils, government agencies, consultants and others interested in urban design.
The award is hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia, and this year was assessed by a jury nominated by the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Consult Australia, and Urban Design Forum. There were three Special Commendations – and one Award winner.
The jury citations were as follows:
The Australian Award for Urban Design 2011 was given to the Brisbane Southbank Corporation for the SW1 Precinct at South Bank. This work is the result of a progression of stages, involving a range of organisation and professional companies in a complex urban renewal challenge – much of which has now been implemented. The derelict land in the area has been transformed to provide a very enjoyable and attractive urban environment for those who inhabit the area – to live there, to work there, to play there is an experience of intrigue and delight.
The precinct brings together human scale and built form massing. It has an integrated context, it is spatially connected for people, public transport and cars, it has legibility, and a sense of community. The quality of the spaces encourages and supports activation by the people who are there. It links the climate and the landscape – and has the mix of uses which ensures a vital urban environment. In summary, the precinct has been very well conceived, is very well designed, and it has been implemented: it is built and it works well.
Brisbane City Council for Urban Renewal Brisbane. This 20 year process has provided a long-term vision not just for the CBD but for the whole central region – including specific community precincts. The vision has successfully given guidance over a relatively long period and has been the catalyst for a substantial degree of implementation. The robustness of the process has enabled it to continue through political, economic, demographic and community changes. It has had both a longevity and clarity such that it continues to guide and facilitate a diversity of scales of place-making and place identity.
The City of Sydney City Council, for its Part 3A Submission to the Barangaroo Concept Plan Modification 4. The award entry sets out Council’s involvement in the urban design process in the form of an alternative to the modified development proposal. This Special Commendation is given because of the analytical and rigorous manner in which the Council has sought to achieve excellent urban design outcomes for its constituents through active engagement in the decision-making process. The Council has emphasized the importance of this key site in central Sydney, and has addressed its context and massing to maintain a human scale and interface with the waterfront.
The City of Canada Bay for the Rhodes West Masterplan. The challenge of transforming this industrial wasteland into a dynamic community was creatively and practically tackled, proposing visual complexity, active recreation spaces, and a strong local identity. It is an innovative intervention which addresses both the development control and the funding needed to liberate the land value, and sets out to effectively and efficiently link and share the community assets of a school and a railway station.