The Award created by then-PM Keating’s Urban Design Taskforce and first awarded in 1996, acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of our cities and towns. The Award is hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia, with support from the Australian Institute of Architects, Property Council of Australia, Green Building Council of Australia, Association of Consulting Engineers Australia and the Urban Design Forum.
This year there were 38 submissions – a wide range of projects and urban settings – demonstrating work both by leading Australian urban designers and our emerging talent. From a strong shortlist, the Jury selected three outstanding entries which very well illustrate the vitality and potential of Australian urban design. The winners of this year’s prestigious Australia Award for Urban Design were announced at a dinner in the impressive setting of the new National Portrait Gallery, in Canberra. The citations were as follows:
Beyond the Pavement
‘Beyond the Pavement’ is a leading edge design policy developed by the Roads and Traffic authority in New South Wales. It provides a valuable precedent and tool for all Australian States and Territories, as an innovative guide to maximising quality urban design – and confirms the significant role of traffic and civil engineers in the creation of good places.
This far reaching policy is valuable in many respects but, most significantly because it addresses the frequently neglected holistic design context within which roads sit. The document articulates design problems, and raises the design bar for both processes and principles, taking a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to the planning and design of road infrastructure and its environs. (for more information see www.rta.nsw.gov.au/constructionmaintenance/downloads/urbandesign/beyond_the_pavement_2009.pdf)
Inner Northern Busway, Brisbane
Major urban infrastructure insertions are often best known/notorious for social alienation rather than sensitivity across cultural, social and functional issues.
The Brisbane Inner Northern Busway by INB Hub Alliance, BVN Architecture and the Queensland Department of Transport enhances the appeal of public transport to all members of society, and sets a benchmark for synergy between urban design and function for future infrastructure projects in Australia.
This project successfully addresses the macro issue of providing public transport as part of the sustainability challenge. It minimises the impact on city streets, takes a holistic approach to integrating movement modes, responds to the history and culture of the place, and is well detailed.
Geelong Youth Activity Precinct
The Geelong Youth Activity Precinct project, by the City of Greater Geelong, embodies a muscular physicality at one with its location and users. Significantly, it is responsive to the specific requirements of youth – often marginalised in our public and private spaces. The quality of this project is apparent in its excellent siting in both physical and social contexts. The project relates strongly to the waterfront and the CBD; interprets the history of Geelong with contemporary structures and buildings, and is a safe and active environment both day and night.
This is a versatile urban place that succeeds in attracting a range of people, including young kids and families. ‘The park is designed to respond to changing needs; to be evolutionary, ensuring cross- generational ownership and usage over time. The park of today will evolve into a park of the future.’ The quality and robustness of the detailing carefully balances both maintenance and user safety, and it is adaptability over time – including formal performances, gatherings, and informal use.