Media Release: VIC's landscapes honoured for shaping our cities 


The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has announced the winners of the 2023 Victorian State Awards at an event held in Melbourne. The jury honoured 32 winners from a record number of 102 entries across 16 categories.  

Jury Chair Naomi Barun says this year’s winners highlight the impact of landscape architects on shaping our built and natural environments.  

“The voice of the landscape architect was strong in so many projects this year. In addition to a focus on deep listening to the land, communities, and Traditional Owners, landscape architects’ design approach to place appears to have shifted,” Naomi says. 

“Not only are we planting with purpose, but this year’s projects demonstrated less of a ‘shaping of the land as an object’ and more engagement and considered insertion into a restored or natural landscape.” 

“Projects in this year’s program were applauded for their painterly approach in the use of plants in the balance of the beauty and the applied science of horticulture. This enabled an expression of seasonality, time, and a visible rendering of the ecological systems.” 

Transforming Southbank Boulevard by City Design, City of Melbourne with TCL and Mike Hewson won an Award of Excellence in the Civic Landscape category. This project transforms part of an arterial road into five new public spaces, each delivering on the needs of the local community. Significantly, it has reallocated 22,000m2 of public space for pedestrians, cyclists and children of all abilities, genders and ages. The project has created an ecologically rich gateway, with more than 400 new trees and climate-responsive understorey planting at the heart of a burgeoning Melbourne Arts Precinct, Southbank Promenade and Yarra River.  

The jury says “This outstanding project has far exceeded its primary ambition and the City of Melbourne and its collaborators are commended by the jury for realising this transformation. Perhaps most delightful of all is the invitation to people of all ages to play, with innovative, place-specific equipment that is beautiful, tactile, and perfectly balances safety, excitement and joy.” 

The Victorian Family Violence Memorial by MUIR+OPENWORK won an Award of Excellence in the Small Projects category. The Victorian Family Violence Memorial creates procession, invitation and kindness within St. Andrews Place reserve, changing the way people behave on the site rather than changing the site itself. A space under the canopy of an existing elm tree invites people to congregate on a civic-scaled fold in the lawn and in a room that is set within the fold itself. This space is cocooned by textured planting whose flowers and leaves are an ever-changing field of purple - the colour of the movement for the eradication of family violence - a presence in the Parliament Precinct that can’t be ignored. 

The jury says: “Surrounded by the larger scale urban elements of imposing government edifices and more coarsely grained landscapes, the memorial carves out and defines a welcoming and inclusive, intimate space that invites quiet reflection. Its finely textured plantings are carefully chosen and designed for this effect and for the memorial’s subject. Layered and arranged with great delicacy, their colours variously endure and change with the seasons, but always reference the purple ribbon movement for the elimination of violence against women, and the elimination of family violence.” 

The Lower Werribee Waterway Amenity Action Plan won an Award of Excellence in the Land Management category. The plan outlines a vision for improved amenity, cultural and environmental values, and enhanced community access and activation of the blue-green corridor.  

The jury says the “Lower Werribee Waterway Amenity Action Plan is an exemplar strategy for the restoration, conservation, and management of the significant river landscape of Wirribi Yaluk. The project also demonstrates the innovative use of digital technology to communicate the plan in a transparent and accessible way. This transformational blueprint for the future shared leadership and advocacy to protect and enhance the unique values of Wirribi Yaluk is a fantastic achievement.” 

All winners at the State Awards level proceed to the National Landscape Architecture Awards held later this year.  

AILA is the peak body for Landscape Architecture in Australia, championing quality design for public open spaces, stronger communities, and greater environmental stewardship. 


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Image: The Victorian Family Violence Memorial (photo credit: Peter Bennetts)

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AILA VIC Awards Winners Gallery


AILA VIC Awards Ceremony Photos