Vicfresh Message - 18 November 2015

Welcome to the fourth edition of AILA Fresh E-News, brought to you by the Vicfresh team in Victoria.

Time has flown over the past three months, with various state events, teleconferences and meetings keeping everyone tasked and focused on our Fresh programs, which also lead towards the spectacular national event which was the AILA This Public Life Festival, held in Melbourne in October. We’ll begin the recap by speaking about the Festival, followed by some of the events that the States and Territories have been working on.

The Festival of Landscape Architecture: This Public Life

The Festival started for the AILA Fresh Chair's a day early, beginning with a tour of the Dulux Group's research and development centre in Clayton. The tour gave us a greater knowledge of what goes into producing a paint or timber stain, and the large variety different timber finishes available, all backed by a remarkable level of customer service and interaction to help their clients achieve the desired result.

AILA Fresh - Dulux Dog

At the Dulux R&D centre, we had our annual face to face meeting. Since the launch of the Festival of Landscape Architecture last year in Brisbane, the Chair's of each respective state AILA Fresh committee have been having one face to face meeting per year, which coincides with the Festival dates. We have been particularly fortunate in that Cabot's and Intergrain have sponsored our trips to the Festival these past two years, which enables a greater level of communication, interaction, and personal development than the monthly teleconference that we usually participate in. The topics discussed included the type of events Fresh was providing, membership engagement, benefits of Fresh, how to broaden the target audience, and leadership within Fresh. It was also a great opportunity to talk about people's personal experiences working full time and managing an AILA committee.

Next stop was a whirlwind visit to the Australian Garden, at Cranbourne Botanical Gardens. Visiting this award winning landscape was on the wish list for the entire Fresh committee, and to be able to explore this fantastic place and discuss different design techniques with each other way great. As with all designers, we had different aspects of design which we enjoyed the most, be it the use materials, planting design, water elements, and diversity of landscape styling.

AILA Fresh – Cranbourne Botanical Gardens

After a quick yet enjoyable field trip, we headed off to the University of Melbourne's Dulux Gallery, just in time for the announcement of the Australasian Student Design Competition, This Public Space. The design competition engaged teams of students to propose strategies for making public spaces more inclusive and conducive to bringing together diverse groups of users. Three teams were selected as finalists, one coming from New South Wales, and the other two hailing from New Zealand. In a fantastic effort, both teams from New Zealand were able to make it to the Festival at short notice, and participate in the awards ceremony. Congratulations to Kathryn Nguyen, Alex Prujean, Michael Cook (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) who won the $3000 prize awarded by Intergrain, for their project, Aftershock.

AILA Fresh – Team Aftershock (NZ) and Intergrain, sponsors of the Award

The Fresh team helped kick off the festival by celebrating at the opening party at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Persimmon and Gardens. A temporary 'tent' structure was created by John Wardle Architects, which is housing temporary events at the NGV this summer. Meeting and greeting local colleagues, interstate committee members (which you sometimes only ever speak to via teleconference) and former lecturers was a great way to start the event.

AILA Fresh – Two Thirds of the vFresh Team

AILA Fresh – John Wardle Installation

The first day of the conference began very early for me, heading out to the Lappsett CrossFit morning workout in Docklands. There were a few early risers who ventured out for an early morning test of some new fitness equipment temporarily installed for the new residents in the area, the event just one of the 30+ fringe events included within the Festival

AILA Fresh – Temporary Lappset Installation at Docklands

the conference kicked off properly on Friday morning, with a welcome to country from Aunty Di, and a special welcome from our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (via video link unfortunately). Key notes speakers in the morning included David van der Leer from the Van Alen Institute, and Jenny Osuldsen from Snøhetta, gave fantastic talks on the topic of Public Life, providing enjoyable real world examples of how technology can pull data from the public space, and how design can completely reinvent spaces. A great panel discussion was had with David and Jenny, which also featured Emma Appleton (OVGA) and Sacha Coles (Aspect) about the inclusive city.

The afternoon session delved into the topic of Life and Death, was led by Marti Franch form Estudio Marti Franch, and Jacky Bowring from Lincoln University. Marti gave a great account of his projects, many of which focused on 'un-doing' built form in order to reveal great landscapes. Jacky gave a resonating presentation on the significance of death in landscapes, and the use of melancholy as a design tool, the use of memorial, and the impact that devastating events can have on how we design for reflection and remembrance. Jacky and Marti were joined by Adam Nitschke (Parks Victoria) and Katrina Simon (UNSW) for a panel discussion on viable and meaningful landscapes, which embed history and change through a diverse range of narratives.

AILA Fresh – Conference Day 1

The evening was finished off by the Victorian AILA Awards, which was an excellent way to can off a day of inspiring speakers and thought provoking panel discussions. A definite bonus for the local landscape architects to have their interstate colleagues supporting them in their hour of limelight at the annual awards ceremony. A fantastic time to socialise, and get ready for another entertaining day of speakers and lively discussions the following day.

AILA Fresh – AILA Vic Awards

Day two kicked off with a few coffees before jumping into some great international guest speakers. Carmen Fiol-Costa & Andreu Arriola Madorell from ARRIOLA&FIOL (Spain) and Nick Wood form How About Studio (England) started off the day with interesting presentations on the use of art in public spaces, and community engagement during the development and construction process. Carmen and Andreu spoke to their multiple award winning projects, and how the intense dissection of a project brief can unveil what is actually desired to bring forth in a particular landscape. They were joined by Sue Barnsley (Sue Barnsley Design) and Chris Sawyer (Site Office) for a panel discussion on public memory, personal experiences, and how landscapes can acquire meaning.

Following this the Fresh team had an exclusive lunch for the Fellows of AILA, in which we recognised their contribution to the profession, while mingling with our current state and national presidents. The lunch was hosted by Malcolm Snow, who led a Q&A session with Darrel Conybeare and William Morrison, founders and directors of Conybeare Morrison International and Street Furniture Australia, and Darren Mansfield AILA, practice director of Context.

AILA Fresh – Fellows Lunch

After lunch, we engaged in the topic of Participation and Spectacle, in which renowned landscape architect Cees van der Veeken, from LOLA landscape architectsgave a entertaining and informative presentation on dealing with water in Dutch landscapes, and how the engineering solution of a dike has become reframed into an urban icon, delivering social and health benefits to its users. Next up was Natalie Jeremijenko, from the Environmental Health Clinic, who gave a truly rock star performance running through her many and varied projects which looked at the ecology of our urban environments, and how we can engage with those systems to reinvigorate our habitat. A great panel discussion was had with Maj Plemenitas (LINKSCALE) and Tanya Court (University of Adelaide), who looked at the performative nature of landscape, and how it can generate involvement in the process of production, and how it can invite social participation through technological change.

AILA Fresh – Conference Day 2 (Coffee break, obviously)

Finally, the closing drinks (which unfortunately I couldn't attend) was held at the Mpavillion, was (I heard) a great way to wind down from such an exciting few days of fun and education.

Top moments from the Fresh team include:

  • Cranbourne Botanical Gardens
  • This Public Life Award winners
  • The Journey - Festival Mapping
  • Natalie Jeremijenko
  • Jenny Osuldsen - Snohetta
  • AILA Victoria Awards
As always, a great thank you to Cabot's and Intergrain for making it possible for the Fresh team to catch up annually, and set some lofty goals for making the AILA Fresh experience a good one for all of our members. Looking forward to bigger and better things in Canberra next year, for the 50th anniversary of AILA, and the International Federation of Landscape Architects Asia-Pacific Regional Conference.