The Australia Award for Urban Design this year again attracted a diversity of high quality entries emphasizing the strength of urban design skills and interest across the country. The awards were presented at a gala dinner at Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery on 25 June, as follows.
The 2013 AAUD award for ‘Delivered outcomes – large scale’ was given to the Brisbane Northern Busways project for its visionary series of transport nodes along a six kilometre corridor, integrating effective site- specific solutions into the existing urban fabric. This transformational project, a catalyst for urban transformation around public transport, highlights the potential for greater value and density around transport-orientated development and leaves a long term legacy for the City of Brisbane.
Employing a multi-disciplinary approach, and considering many different criteria in a complicated brief, Tract Consultants used the network of connections – and reconnections – between pedestrian, cycle paths, public transport and roadways to create significant transformation and a precedent for future multi modal exchanges. Previously degraded spaces, from the waterway to the zones under transport corridors, have been re-integrated to deliver exemplary urban design with a common and unifying theme.
The richness of the hard and the soft landscaping within the natural topography, and the quality of the design and installation, aims to maximise user satisfaction, improve the experience, and liberates the ‘functional form’ so it can become an integral part of the social and urban fabric.
The 2013 AAUD Award for ‘Delivered outcomes – small scale’ was given to the Sydney Laneway Upgrades. The upgrade of two laneways by ASPECT Studios for the City of Sydney, at Ash Street and Angel Place and in Chinatown, illustrates the value of rediscovery and transformation of parts of the city into a new type of public space, one which is more than the conventional large green public space.
The project illustrates the effective integration of major art works into public space with ‘Forgotten Songs’ by Dr Richard Major and Michael Thomas Hill and ‘Between Two Worlds’ by Jason Wing. While it is possible the art may change over time, it has been a critical part of the project, helping to identify possibilities for the use of the space, and assisting to take the undesirable and make it desirable.
The project has lifted the rejuvenation of laneways to a new level. It has established laneways as a destination and an important integral part of the city, and has encouraged new small business to be established which in turn introduces more people into the city.
A Commendation for ‘Delivered outcomes – large scale’ was given to Lonsdale Street Dandenong. A major suburban activity centre in metropolitan Melbourne, Dandenong had grappled with the challenge of overcoming the barrier effect of Lonsdale Street, historically a very wide road, part of the Princes Highway, Highway One. This major and well-funded project has transformed central Dandenong day and night, accommodating each transport mode – pedestrians, cyclists, local parking and access and through traffic – in an aesthetically attractive urban landscape created by Taylor Cullity Lethlean and BKK Architects. The project has reapportioned the space, putting emphasis on creating a destination place, with attention given to the detailed design of the landscape, street furniture and stormwater catchment and reuse.
Lonsdale Street is the first key infrastructure project delivered as part of the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Dandenong Council’s ‘Revitalising Central Dandenong Initiative’ to bring new energy, activity and amenity to the heart of this diverse urban centre.
The 2013 AAUD Award for ‘Policies, programs and concepts – large scale’ was given to Linking Canberra to the Lake. This ambitious strategic project by the Office of the Coordinator General, ACT Government generates intensification of the civic precinct, unlocking mixed use value for the area and the wider city, activating the water and the surrounding major entertainment and cultural facilities. The project respects and extends its historical settings in a way that is appropriate to a modern and forward looking Canberra.
The project takes into consideration the infrastructure of tomorrow including pedestrian access, light rail and land bridges and sets the framework for future flexible civic planning direction with a clear focus on integration that can be staged to respond to both financial and external market factors. This solution refocuses attention on prioritising pedestrian movement around the precinct to the water’s edge and surrounding parkland.
The project embeds multiple functions that supports and enhances a city of growth. It considers diversification and variety in housing options creating a compact city that has the potential to reduce energy use without compromising open spaces and building on its natural character. The solution successfully integrates and links with the existing fabric, creating a framework to add vitality, complexity and diversity to the city.
The judges decided not to award the AAUD award for ‘Policies, programs and concepts – small scale’ for 2013, and encourage the submission of policies, programs and concepts including research and publications for this award in the future.
The AAUD is hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia and supported by the Australian Institute of Architects, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, Consult Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Property Council of Australia and the Urban Design Forum. Entries are assessed against agreed criteria by a jury made up of experienced practitioners from the supporting organisations.