Rush\Wright Wins AILA VIC Award
10. June 2021
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) has announced the winners of the 2021 VIC Landscape Architecture Awards: 22 awards in 15 categories. Rush\Wright Associates' Brunswick Street Streetscape Masterplan garnered an Award of Excellence in the Urban Design category.
Existing conditions at Fitzroy Town Hall. (Photo: Scenery)
The winners were announced in an online event on June 2, 2021, when jury chair Naomi Barun pointed out how "the past year has seen changes in the way public places are valued, with the rediscovery and enabling of new forms of connection and expression." Accordingly, Barun continued, "submissions were centered around Victoria’s need to connect, play, roam, to give back to the community and to proactively adapt for the unforeseen."
In this context, the masterplan for a one-mile (1.6-km) stretch of Brunswick Street in the City of Yarra, in suburban Melbourne, is a fitting one, even though a draft of the masterplan predates the pandemic. The project understand streets, per Rush\Wright, "as places not just for movement but as containers of history — and platforms for social interaction and belonging." The plan follows two decades that saw a lack of resolution in how to upgrade the public realm of Brunswick Street, with its constrained mix of tram route, cars, footpaths, outdoor dining, and historic building awnings.
The plan stretches from Victoria Parade to Alexandra Parade and includes the streets surrounding Fitzroy Town Hall and Atherton Gardens. (Drawing: Rush Wright Associates)
Following a two-phase public engagement process, consultations with aboriginal and other groups that resulted in hundreds of responses, and detailed site observations, Rush\Wright developed a plan that is "contextually responsive but also ambitious for change." More seating, plantings, and places for people are the main ingredients of the masterplan that was issued in April 2020 (PDF link) and subsequently approved by the City of Yarra.