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December 2006 Issue
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Award lauds urban design projects


The University of Adelaide has featured in two major national awards for urban design, highlighting the role of landscape architecture as an emerging profession in South Australia.

The redevelopment of North Terrace, encompassing the University's grounds, and an urban design project by University of Adelaide lecturer Tanya Court have jointly won the 2006 Australia Award for Urban Design.

Initiated in 1995 by then-Prime Minister Paul Keating, the award recognises excellence in Australia's built environment and rewards creative civic design and planning.

Ms Court, from the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture & Urban Design, won recognition for a landscape design project which regenerated a deteriorating small city block in Melbourne. The end result provided shelter for the homeless, affordable housing and improved public spaces and transport facilities.

The landscape strategy to link the civic spaces, institutions and facilities along North Terrace is the work of architectural landscape firm Taylor Cullity Lethlean.

Both projects were lauded for their imagination, contemporary and ecological design, and their integration with the surrounding environment.

"Urban design is an area where Australia is maturing and producing some wonderful results, and landscape architecture is playing a big role in this," Ms Court said.

"Landscape architecture is emerging as a growing profession in South Australia, with increasing demand for new graduates. This year we have 12 landscape architecture students graduating and all are guaranteed jobs."

As a sign of its coming-of-age, the first independent exhibition of projects by the University's graduate landscape architecture students was held last month at the Queen's Theatre.

The exhibition, titled New Dirt, featured a variety of projects, including a public space which promotes recycling, a geometric artificial headland along Adelaide's coastline resulting in wider recreational beaches, and the transformation of a working quarry site into a theatre space.

Ms Court said Adelaide offered enormous potential for landscape projects such as the redevelopment of its city laneways, more cycleways and pedestrian-friendly environments, additional public transport nodes and more effective use of the parklands.

Story by Candy Gibson

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