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Wings and fire inspire SA in taking out top landscape awards


An Adelaide playground inspired by birds has been named Australia’s best at a prestigious national awards event.

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The Thorndon Park Playground last night took out the national Play Spaces Award of Excellence in the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects National Awards for a unique design inspired by its surrounding diverse and plentiful bird life.

JPE Design Studio’s playground was lauded for creating varied play opportunities for people of all ages and abilities with its design focused around four sculptural bird structures offering water play, slides, swings, and climbing.

“Thorndon Park Playground is an exemplary project that illustrates how landscape architects can deliver diverse and unique play experiences while remaining grounded in local site and community needs,” the jury said of the Gorge Road park.

The jury, made up of landscape architects, academics and built environment professionals, named 51 winners for their positive impact on the country’s regions, towns and cities – sizing up national entries that included all the South Australian chapter’s winners from earlier this year.

“The need for landscape architecture has never been greater,” AILA National Awards Jury Chair Claire Martin said.

“Whether by accelerating adaptation, strategising for carbon and flood mitigation, increasing biodiversity or improving the health of our waterways.

“Likewise, landscape architects can strengthen people’s connection with their environment and to each other, improve livelihoods and health outcomes, foster truth telling and simply bring joy to people.”

The Parks and Open Space award of excellence was won by Queensland’s Hanlon Park/Bur’uda Waterway Rejuvenation where the Brisbane City Council, Tract, Bligh Tanner, Epoca Constructions, and AECOM, brought nature to Brisbane’s inner city.

Two other South Australian projects also won Landscape Architecture Awards in this category.

Aspect Studios, Southfront and the City of Burnside were praised for their work on the Kensington Wama – Kensington Gardens Reserve.

Adelaide playground

Kensington Wama/Kensington Gardens Reserve Photo: Dan Schultz

TCL took out one of these awards along with a Climate Positive Design Award for its creation of the South Parklands wetland.

TCL also won a small projects Landscape Architecture Award for its Fire Circle, the temporary installation exploring the qualities of fire for the 2021 Nature Festival in Adelaide.

TCL and Kate Cullity collaborated with Musician Simon Slattery, Poet Maggie Slattery and writer Stephen Meucke to create the response to the devastating Australian bushfires in early 2020, along with an ongoing fascination with fire and its effect on landscape and the inhabitants of the continent.

Tract and World Trails’ Great Ocean Road Trail Master Plan took out the top Award of Excellence in the Landscape Planning category and a Regional Achievement Award.

Adelaide playground

TCL won a small projects award for Fire Circle. Photo: Jackie Gu

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