Healing gardens receive top honour for Civic Landscape at AILA National Awards

Conrad Gargett has received the Award of Excellence in the Civic Landscape category of the 2016 National Landscape Architecture Awards for their work on the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

The design, underpinned by extensive research, incorporates eleven rooftop gardens for recreation, rehabilitation and therapy, a green sloping roof of 23,000 plants and a community plaza featuring six thirty-year-old transplanted fig trees.

Upon accepting the award, Conrad Gargett’s Principal and Head of Landscape Architecture Katharina Nieberler-Walker acknowledged the project team and the support of Queensland Health. “We are humbled and excited by being awarded this accolade. The competition in the civic landscape category was strong and we feel that the extraordinary amount of research, collaboration and persistence we have put into his project has been rewarded. We feel there is much more scope in demonstrating the benefits of the ‘healing gardens’ and our ongoing research collaboration with QUT, UQ and Children’s Allied Health Research is showing our long-term commitment in developing this further “, she said.

Held on Thursday 27 October, the awards showcase some of the best Australian Landscape Architecture and aim to advance the profession of landscape architecture by encouraging excellence by members of the profession and fostering awareness and recognition of the work of AILA Registered Landscape Architects.

Jury comment

The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital project, in inner-city Brisbane, has taken landscape architecture beyond the conventional two-dimensional realm and show that design innovation can lead to tangible benefits for health and wellbeing. The rooftop subtropical landscapes, community spaces and vertical gardens are clear evidence of effective design collaboration between project partners on what was a complex and challenging site.

The design capitalizes on and creates clever relationships within its urban location and provides for public amenity at a variety of scales. The new civic space on Vulture Street is a significant addition to the public environment of South Bank and demonstrates the importance of engaging with the existing urban context, irrespective of a project’s scale.

The micro landscapes in and around the hospital provide an accessible form of relief and escape for seriously ill and infirm patients and have demonstrative benefits in sustainability and building efficiency. The landscape designs are bold, progressive and conversant with the language of Lyons’ building facades. The series of garden rooms offer parents and children places for curiosity and play as well as a reprieve from hospital visits. Green walls and green roofs become wonderlands as well as verdant vistas from hospital beds.

The project makes a major contribution to the advancement of green infrastructure landscape design practice at a national level.