The Australian Garden, designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) with Paul Thompson, has won the ‘Landscape of the Year Award’ at the prestigious World Architecture Festival (WAF) Awards 2013. The award was one of three major prizes announced at a gala dinner awards ceremony on 4 October at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The ceremony marked the culmination of WAF 2013 – the largest festival and live awards programme for the global architecture community, which ran over three days from 2-4 October.
The Australian Garden is situated within the Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne on the south-eastern outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. It was developed in a former sand quarry and allows visitors to follow a metaphorical journey of water through the Australian landscape, from the desert to the coastal fringe. The garden brings together horticulture, architecture, ecology, and art to create the largest botanic garden devoted to Australian flora. It showcases some 170,000 plants across 1700 species all adapted to its challenging site condition, using the Australian landscape as its inspiration to create a sequence of powerful sculptural and artistic landscape experiences that recognise its diversity, breadth of scale and wonderful contrasts. The project was 17 years in the making with the second stage of the garden opening late last year. It has won a string of state, national and international awards, dating back to 1997.
The Australian Garden was selected by a jury of some of the world’s most dynamic architectural and urban designers. It overcame competition from a shortlist of nine entriesfrom Thailand, United Kingdom, Lebanon, Sweden, Australia and China.
The jury commended the project, saying, “This garden brilliantly summarises the great variety of Australian flora as well as the large part of the country which is arid desert. Like a botanic garden, it is a collection of difference, but with a strong unifying set of journeys through the various landscapes. This landscape stood out with its originality and strong evocation of Australian identity without having to use any signs or words – just the beautiful flora of Australia’s countryside!”.
IMAGE CREDIT | John Gollings