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Queen Street upgrade in National Awards

Media release – February 25, 2008

Queen Street upgrade in National Awards

Auckland’s controversial Queen Street upgrade is up for a prestigious national design award.

The multi-million dollar makeover of New Zealand’s busiest street is among a record number of entries competing for an award from the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA).

A total of 97 entries have been received for the 2008 NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Awards, almost double the 50 that took part last time the biennial event was held in 2006.

Entries have been received from around the country, and range from large-scale projects such as the Northern Gateway project at Orewa and a sustainable housing project in Takanini, to residential gardens and a trio of remote baches in the Pelorus Sound.

The awards this year have three main categories - Planning, Design, and Student – while awards of excellence will be given out for colour and sustainability.

In addition there are two supreme awards; the George Malcolm Supreme Award for Landscape Design, and the Charlie Challenger Supreme Award for Landscape Planning.

“We are very excited about this year’s entries. Not only do we have a great number of them, but the quality so far has been very high,” says Heidi Monks, a landscape architect and convener of this year’s awards.

“They are also a great representation of the breadth of the profession, with entries ranging from private gardens and community playgrounds to major shopping developments like Auckland’s Sylvia Park.”

The Pride of Place awards celebrate the best in landscape architecture in New Zealand, while the student awards provide a glimpse into the future of the profession.

There are nine judges, with three covering each category.

Among them is Debbie Saegenschnitter, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, who says she has a lot of good ideas to take back over the Tasman with her.

“I’m looking for strong vision and confident designs. I want to see that the people involved have researched and understand their sites, and that their designs work with the sites and are not imposed on them,” says Debbie.

“I don’t like anything fussy that tries too hard. A good design shows restraint.”

Fellow design judge Simon Smale, a landscape architect consultant with the Department of Conservation, says a good design “gives expression to the unfulfilled potential of a place”.

Richard Bain, a judge this year, was a partner in one of last year’s supreme award winning entries. Richard believes the key to a good design is to carry out a thorough analysis of your location beforehand, and he will be looking for evidence of this when visiting the sites.

Finalists are due to be selected on February 29, with the awards due to be announced at a ceremony at Auckland’s Hyatt hotel on Saturday, April 5, during the NZILA’s annual conference weekend.

The awards and conference in April will coincide with World Landscape Architecture Month by the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA).

At the last awards in 2006, 26 medals were awarded, including the two supreme awards.

ENDS

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