2023 WLA Student Awards winners announced

The World Landscape Architecture (WLA) Student Awards recognises the exceptional talent and creativity of current and graduate landscape architecture students. The awards program celebrates the innovative and forward-thinking ideas of the next generation of landscape architects, showcasing their ability to address pressing global challenges through thoughtful and sustainable design solutions.

The 2023 World Landscape Architecture (WLA) Student Awards had over 125 entries from current and graduate students in landscape architecture. The shortlist was announced in early November 2023, with the quality of this year’s entries equal to the high quality of past years, and the jurors were impressed with the entries, making it hard to select the final winners.

Jury

The 2023 Student WLA Awards has a world-class jury to review and acknowledge the best student work in design, research, and analysis. This year, the jury included the following jurors:

2023 WLA Student Awards Jury

Afshin Ashari
Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture – School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) – University of Guelph.

Ed Wall
Professor of Cities and Landscapes – University of Greenwich
Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano

L. Irene Compadre, PLA ASLA
Founding Principal, Design Director – Arbolope Studio
Lecturer – Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis

Mansi Shah
Founder – Productive Urbanism Collective
Adjunct Assistant Professor at Bachelor of Urban Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India

Zheng Xiaodi, Ph.D., RLA, ASLA, CHSLA,
Associate Professor and Assistant Dean – Tsinghua University School of Architecture
Vice Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture
Founding Director of the Center for Brownfields Research

The winners of the 2023 World Landscape Architecture Awards are as follows:

CONCEPT – Analysis & Planning

Award of Excellence (1st Ranking)
From Decline to revival-Madré Mountain Coffee in the Climate Crisis
Zhou Xuesi – East China Normal University; Supervisor: Li Xin;

2023 WLA Student Awards
From Decline to revival-Madré Mountain Coffee in the Climate Crisis | Zhou Xuesi – East China Normal University; Supervisor: Li Xin;

Juror’s Comments:
This project stands as a testament to how rigorous data driven analysis can inform and transform the landscape architecture practice, particularly in addressing the dual challenges of climate change and socio-economic upheaval. The project’s foresight in calculating coffee suitability ratings and adapting land use to projected future conditions sets a benchmark for climate-smart agriculture practices. 
The well-detailed project showcases a remarkable initiative fostering a reciprocal relationship between agriculture and forestry. Thereby harmonising ecological preservation and livelihoods while revitalising the coffee industry amidst the climate crisis.


Merit Awards (2nd Ranking)
Improvement of Honey-Peach agrosystem in Yangshan
Chengxi Huang, Siwei Wang, Jialin Tan, Zhuoheng Yang – Nanjing Forestry University; Yichen Xian, University Of Waterloo; Supervisor: Xinwang Sun, Nanjing Forestry University.

TRIBING: Revitalize Ecological Wetland with Agricultural Livelihood Integration
Tian Yang, Nanjing Forestry University; Panpan Sun – Xi`an University of Architecture and Technology;
Supervisor: Mengqing Yu, Wageningen University & Research.

Honour Awards (3rd Ranking)
Fight for a Flower in Palestinian-Israeli region
Wenqian Niu – Cornell University;  Xin Lyu – Inner Mongolia Arts University; Chenyue Zhao – The University of Hong Kong; Supervisor: Jian Jiao;

Artificial Island Seed Launch Centre
Qin Qianqian – University of Hong Kong; Supervisor: Wataru, Guest lecturer, University of Hong Kong;

CONCEPT – Large Design

Award of Excellence (1st Ranking)
Re(de)fining Decomposition
Joyce Fong – University of Virginia; Supervisor: Leena Cho, Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

2023 WLA Student Awards
Re(de)fining Decomposition
Joyce Fong – University of Virginia; Supervisor: Leena Cho, Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

The project’s ability to capture landscapes’ ever-changing and dynamic character is recognizable. The simple yet powerful interventions – from the painting of deadwood to the shaping of landforms – elegantly highlight the transitory beauty of decomposition. By facilitating direct human interaction with the materials, the project vividly brings to life the role of humans as participants in the ecological narrative, not just as passive observers.
The selection of this project is based on its captivating and playful depiction of the productive role of decomposition within nature. Utilizing diverse landforms, vibrant visual elements, and interactive engagement fosters a paradigm shift in how deadwood is perceived, emphasizing its transformative journey within the ecosystem.

Merit Awards (2nd Ranking)
The back yard Stitch the cities on both sides, patch the city hollow
Dong Xiaohan – Anhui Jianzhu University; Supervisor: Jennifer Birkeland, Professor, Cornell University

Orkney Climate Theatre Design
Jo Wang – University College London; Supervisors: Laurence Blackwell Thale, Pete Davies, University College London;

Honour Awards (3rd Ranking)
Aria of the Growth
Xinyuan Zhang, Qianlin Hu, Chengyao Ban, Changying Cheng – Southwest Jiaotong University; Supervisor: Jia Zhong;

Weaving the city: ecological restoration in the Amphawa region of Thailand
Wang Yichun – Macau University of Science and Technology; Supervisor: Chen Pan;

CONCEPT – Small Design

Award of Excellence (1st Ranking)
Wild and Unseen Designing for our Tiny Relationships
Julia MacNelly – University of Virginia; Supervisor: Matthew Seibert, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

2023 WLA Student Awards
Wild and Unseen Designing for our Tiny Relationships
Julia MacNelly – University of Virginia; Supervisor: Matthew Seibert, Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

Jurors’ Comments:
Symbology is very rich and evocative of smell – designing a garden that is smell-forward is challenging, but graphically representing that idea may be even more so! So well done.
This project is not just a design but a multisensory journey that challenges the visual dominance in landscape architecture, proposing a distinctive way of engaging with spaces through the sense of smell. It moves beyond traditional visual aesthetics to consider how scents influence our memory, emotions, and spatial navigation.

Merit Awards (2nd Ranking)
OASIS
Yuxuan Cai, Brenden Berry, Danthai Dimalanta, Cloudia Wooten, Alyssa Gainey, Kiayna Ford, Kaulupali Makaneole, Julian Thomas, Irina Koleva, Rejndi Hylviu, Saul Cardenas-Meza, Nicholas Saito, Blaise Madayag, Karla Nicole Opiniano – University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Supervisor: Xiwei Shen

Honour Awards (3rd Ranking)
Absence & Presence
Shengtao Shen – Sichuan Agricultural University; Supervisor: Bingyang Lv;

RESEARCH

Award of Excellence (1st Ranking)
MINUS-C
Delaram Ebrahimi Nia – Politecnico di Milano; Supervisor: Prof. Mattia Previtali, Politecnico di Milano;

2023 WLA Student Awards
MINUS-C
Delaram Ebrahimi Nia – Politecnico di Milano; Supervisor: Prof. Mattia Previtali, Politecnico di Milano;

Jurors’ Comments
Aiming at the problem of how to know carbon storage through remote sensing images, have carried out in-depth technical research, and obtained technical results with controllable error and easy to obtain.
This research is being recognised for its pivotal significance and presentation. The study harnesses machine learning techniques, leveraging satellite data and on-site observations to construct models for estimating above-ground biomass in vegetation. These pioneering innovations showcase technology’s potential to promote environmental awareness while equipping decision-makers to advance urban sustainability.

Merit Awards (2nd Ranking)
Digitally fabricated concrete applied to terrain responsive design
Nada Abdel-Aziz – Mississippi State University; Supervisor: Abbey Franovich

Honour Awards (3rd Ranking)
Microclimate Improvement & Stormwater Management Testing
Ruoyu Ding – University of Kassel; Supervisor: Nischa Patel, University of Kassel;

GRADUATE

Award of Excellence (1st Ranking)
Fungal Intervention for Tropical Rainforest Preservation
Qiuhui Zhu- Nanjing Forestry University, Qiuyi Rao – Guangzhou University; Supervisor: Xinqi Zhuang;

2023 WLA Student Awards
Fungal Intervention for Tropical Rainforest Preservation
Qiuhui Zhu- Nanjing Forestry University, Qiuyi Rao – Guangzhou University; Supervisor: Xinqi Zhuang;

Jurors’ Comments
The project’s analysis, strategies, and presentation are commendable. The comprehensive spatial analysis is meticulously documented, resulting in a well-rounded and robust proposal.
By interweaving the cultivation of fungi with the lifecycle of local flora and fauna, the project has set in motion a dynamic and organic process of recovery and conservation. 

Merit Awards (2nd Ranking)
Incomplete Landscapes: Depoliticising the disputed island of Pedra Branca through landscapes of co-production
Eugene Tan – National University of Singapore; Supervisor: A/Prof Lilian Chee;

The Anarcheological Dialectics
Arda Coşan – İstanbul Technical University; Supervisor: Hayriye Eşbah Tunçay, Professor, İstanbul Technical University;

Honour Awards (3rd Ranking)
Traces of Water
Qin Jing – University of Pennsylvania; Supervisor: Valerio Morabito;

Mining Sand Claiming Land
Lok Yan Wong – Oslo School of Architecture and Design; Supervisors: Luis Callejas and Sabine Müller, Professors, Oslo School of Architecture and Design and Nils Roar Sælthun, hydrologists;

The 2023 WLA Student Awards have been finalised and there will be no further awards announced. The Award recipients will be contacted, and WLA will publish the winning projects over the coming months.

Shortlisted entries will receive their certificate within the next week.

About Damian Holmes 3228 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/