The work being produced in Australia’s landscape architecture schools is at the forefront of pushing boundaries and making new connections in the discipline, but much of it does not transcend faculty walls to be seen by a wider community. The Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize identifies and shares the finest graduating projects produced in landscape architecture education across the country. Australian universities each nominate a student based on their end-of-year presentation. The projects are then blindly reviewed by an independent jury, which awards one student the national prize.
The projects in this year’s Landscape Student Prize include a framework for development in fire-prone landscapes that balances ecological sensitivity with bushfire safety; a model for a campus precinct that aims to improve food security and climate resilience; and a project that explores the reconstruction of opal mining landscapes through a critical examination of resource extraction, social memory and colonialism.
From within this pool, the jury is pleased to announce joint winners of the Landscape Student Prize this year: Birth from the scar by Haoyang Wang of The University of Melbourne and Grassland Tales: braiding care, culture and maintenance by Chloe Walsh of University of Technology Sydney.
Birth from the scar engages important concepts of rehabilitation and regeneration of mining sites as Australia transitions towards a clean energy economy. The proposal melds highly technical and strategic thinking with detailed ground-level and material explorations of the experiences these transformed sites could provide. Clear, precise drawings unpack the evolving relationship and dynamics between the site’s human and non-human inhabitants. Birth from the scar is an elegant and well-executed project that engages the strategic, performative and aesthetic aspects of design practice to develop a compelling vision for the transformation of former mining sites into productive new ecological and community spaces.
The jury commends Grassland Tales: braiding care, culture and maintenance for its emphasis on the value of slowness, care and attention to detail in design practice. The work is a quiet, yet powerful comment on the nature and direction of the landscape architecture profession. Meticulous, poetic drawings and a carefully curated selection of photographs focus on landscape processes at the micro-scale and foreground how seemingly small moves and acts can have very large import. This highly emotive project reorients how we might work as designers, and demonstrates how taking the time to observe, sense and engage with people and landscape can encourage much deeper and richer understandings of site.
National Prize Winners (joint winners)
Birth from the scar – Haoyang Wang, The University of Melbourne
Grassland Tales: braiding care, culture and maintenance – Chloe Walsh, University of Technology Sydney
Opal Imaginary – Marina Couchman, QUT
Hilltop Habitats – Alannah Easton, Deakin University
The Shift: Waite Urban Food Farm and Transport Precinct – Elissa Stapleton, University of Adelaide
Greenery versus Density: Two opposing approaches to ‘future-proofing’ Australia’s Bush Capital – Ramona Hofler, University of Canberra
To Think Like a River – Jennifer Wu, University of New South Wales, Sydney
Fire and Place – Amy Stewart, University of Western Australia
Patchwork Plains – Sebastian Cocks, RMIT University