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Exceptional projects will produce supreme prize

Media Release – February 20

Exceptional projects will produce supreme prize at NZ Landscape Architects Awards

This year’s New Zealand landscape architects awards will definitely produce the supreme prize, the judges said today.

A record 110 entries are in line for the New Zealand Pride of Place Landscape Awards to be held in Christchurch on April 5.

The Supreme Award is not presented every year because of a high standard set, but jury convenor Jan Woodhouse confirmed today at least three projects were in line for the big award.

The jury is visiting all 28 entries for awards. A supreme prize, the George Malcolm Award, may be given for a truly exceptional project, but most years it is not.

``This year we have already seen three projects that we would feel comfortable giving the supreme award to. Sorting between them is going to be very challenging,’’ Ms Woodhouse said.

The profession of landscape architecture is hitting new highs, according to the jury for this year’s design awards.

``Not only are we seeing bold, assured designs, but landscape architects are taking a lead role in bringing together other professionals and the community.’’ said Ms Woodhouse, convenor of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects design awards jury.

``What you don’t see is often more significant than what you do see in a landscape project,’’ Ms Woodhouse said.

``In Christchurch, the prime goal of one project was to provide a safe haven for the endangered Canterbury mudfish. In another entry, the plant materials were chosen, not for aesthetic reasons, but for the therapy opportunities they could offer to children with disabilities.”

In Central Otago the jury saw a tiny residential garden and one on the scale of a country estate. But in both cases they were impressed by the deep understanding of the site ecology, soils and micro-climates.

Two superb projects on the Wellington waterfront were just as important for their restraint and for what they’ve prevented happening, as for their absolutely Wellington flourishes, Ms Woodhouse said.

``In some projects, the landscape has been designed, not primarily for aesthetic reasons, but for its education or therapy opportunities, or for the habitat it can provide to an endangered freshwater fish.’’

Taranaki Wharf and Oriental Parade in Wellington, Hastings, Mt Maunganui Beach, Waitara and Waihi townships, Dunedin and Queenstown gardens are just some of the entries this year.

Previous winners include the Arrowtown town centre development, Quay Park, on Auckland's waterfront, indigenous ecosystems handbooks for Christchurch, Papakura gateway reserve, the Wellington Botanic Gardens duck pond, Onehunga’s town centre, the Haast Visitors Centre, and the New Plymouth foreshore walkway and development.

Ends

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