Outstanding South Australian Landscape Designs


Whether it’s a small balcony, a private garden, a shared rooftop or an open public space, there’s no doubt that access to outdoor green space has become a priority at home. era of COVID-19 climate change.

As temperatures rise and our cities become more densely populated, innovative ways to incorporate green elements into the built environment are emerging to give landscape architects a key role in South Australia. Each year the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Awards program showcases outstanding examples of this important work, and this year is no exception.

Access to open space is essential to our physical and mental health, as these shared spaces connect us to the country, inspire us and bring us together. Nowhere is this more evident than at Wangayarta, the 2ha memorial park co-designed by the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation, members of the wider Kaurna community and Oxigen, to create a culturally safe place for repatriation. sensitive and the reburial of disturbed Kaurna ancestors from their original burial sites. At the forefront of the concept was the idea of ​​spreading soil across the plains of Adelaide where these ancestors once walked.

Nine sandstone boulders sculpted by Alan Sumner mark the entrance to the park, which includes a central ceremonial lawn area shaped like the shield of Kaurna, a symbol of protection. Four burial areas at the edge of the lawn reflect the size and scope of Kaurna country, commemorating the challenges, courage and tenacity of the Kaurna people, so that truth is clear and reconciliation authentic.

The inaugural reburial ceremony at Wangayarta. Photo: Brad Griffen

Growing cities, especially Adelaide’s mid- and outer suburbs and peri-urban areas, are too often the legacy of poor urban design. Car-centric, they are warmer, with lower levels of canopy and pedestrian amenities, and lower levels of biodiversity and habitat protection than the former inner city periphery. This has been compounded by the weakening of South Australia’s tree protection laws, once among the best in the world, over the past 10 years.

The 2022 AILA SA President’s Award recognizes the work and advocacy of the Conservation Council of South Australia to highlight these issues, and many 2022 winners showcase plans and projects that incorporate quality green landscapes and low-impact active transport. carbon emissions in new developments.

ASPECT Studios North-South Corridor: The Regency Road to Pym Street (R2P) Green Infrastructure Plan guided the design and delivery of urban landscaping and greening within the context of the road corridor construction dominating in several ways. His landscape plan resulted in thoughtful plantings and visually stimulating public art elements around cycle paths and footpaths, paving the way for a greater role for landscape architects in the planning of major transport infrastructure in Australia. -Southern.

ASPECT Studios North-South Corridor: R2P Green Infrastructure Plan project. Photo: Iain Bond

ASPECT Studios’ landscape plan incorporated active transportation, various plantings, and public art into a major road project. Photo: Iain Bond

In Port Pirie, a collaboration between SA Water, Aurecon and Water Sensitive SA set out to guide policy change in a town characterized by a severe lack of shade and an abundance of dust. Steadily rising fuel prices in this car-dependent city have further underscored the need for cooler, more walkable streets.

The Greening Port Pirie Landscape Plan implements a proactive greening strategy through water efficient innovation and investment, safe and suitable water supply and water sensitive urban design. The selection of endemic species aims to enhance biodiversity and improve the well-being of residents, allowing social interaction on pedestrianized green streets and shaded cycle paths.

Aurecon Landscape Plan for Greening Port Pirie. Image: Aurecon

Port Pirie landscape plan detail greening. Image: Aurecon

ASPECT Studios’ design for Lightsview Linear Park similarly integrates stormwater management, wilderness, wetlands, a lake, an adventure playground, and biking and walking paths into a large subdivision. medium density. The park demonstrates how a shared commitment from developer, council and design team can turn an infrastructure project into a valuable community asset.

The City of Mitcham’s integration of stormwater drainage works and open green spaces into the redevelopment of the Mitcham Library earned ASPECT another accolade. Here, the “rewilding” of the previously concrete and stone-lined cove enhances ecological values ​​and encourages its use as an informal nature-based play space.

Lightsview linear park by ASPECT Studios. Photo: Photo Dan Schultz

Upgraded Mitcham Library and Hawthorn Preserve. Photo: Dan Schultz

The City of Marion Open Space Team has been responsible for a wide range of regeneration and re-greening initiatives over the past decade, and now the Oaklands Wetland is home to diverse wildlife, including including birds, aquatic life and protected species such as the grey-headed fruit bat and the purple-spotted gudgeon.

The wetland also provides a clean water supply to over 30 local reserves, including the nearby St George’s Reserve. A recent upgrade to this play space, located in the historic village of Marion, references a century of brick-making from the 1840s to the 1940s. Features such as the sandbox and water play area refer to using the site as a “pug” (a place to mix clay) and drawing water from the Sturt River for brick making.

The George Street Preserve Upgrade by City of Marion Open Space and Planning. Photo: Peter Semple

Reclaiming land from the state’s dominant automotive paradigm is always a hard-won battle. In Victor Harbor, Oxigen’s Railway Plaza project transforms a previously uninviting parking lot into a vibrant new public open space. The design revitalizes the public realm by reorienting the streetscape and addressing stormwater issues, while conserving and celebrating the majestic fig trees of Moreton Bay.

The historic station is now framed by an inviting new public space, which welcomes visitors to the Cockle Train and hosts a program of events. Thoughtful details, choice of materials, interpretive features and plantings reflect the historical context of the site.

Oxigen’s Railway Plaza project in Victor Harbor. Photo: Dan Schultz

Each year, the AILA Future Leaders category recognizes promising landscape architects, and this year, Wenxuan Zhang of Outerspace Landscape Architects was part of this group. His recent winning design for the Bonython Park/Tulya Wardli ‘Unpaving Paradise’ re-greening pilot project highlights an all-too-rare initiative by the Adelaide Park Lands Association to restore and re-establish a public park that has been lost to parking.

In a spirit of recognition and reconciliation, the design is freely inspired by waadla-warnka-ti, the annual migration of the Kaurna people to the plains, where they built wardly for accommodation during the winter months.

Transit station: retrospective and connection – Wenxuan Zhang’s winning entry in the Adelaide Park Lands Association’s ‘Unpaving Paradise’ competition.

Stephanie Johnston is a freelance planner and writer based between the city and Port Willunga.

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