As a national partner Street Furniture Australia is proudly supporting the AILA 2023 Festival of Landscape Architecture UN/EARTH on Kaurna Meyunna Yerta (Kaurna People’s Country) and surrounding regions on 19-22 October 2023. Here are seven of our upcoming festival highlights: 1. UN/EARTH program now available The festival program brings together streams of thought that engage with the elements and life below and within the earth’s surface, with four themes: DEEP EARTH / RAW EARTH / FERTILE EARTH / SUBTERRANEAN EARTH. Theoretical conversations and talks, presented by international speakers during the conference at the Adelaide National Wine Centre, are enriched by walks and expeditions on Country. Date: Thursday 19 October – Sunday 22 October 2023.Location: Tours and fringe events – various. Conference – National Wine Centre.Cost: Purchase your ticket on the …
In Profile: Mark Frisby
Mark Frisby was elected National President of AILA at a time of great change for the organisation. With new CEO Tim Arnold officially announced this week to take the reins from Shahana McKenzie during the Festival of Landscape Architecture in October, new shifts are coming.
StreetChat talks with Mark about his vision for AILA, and the spaces he’s most proud of as a Melbourne-based landscape architect.
Having presided at the AILA at both a state and national level, can you map out for us some of the changes you have seen and your thoughts on the future?
My involvement in AILA has been extremely rewarding both personally and professionally. At a state level, it has been great to see the evolution of AILA Fresh and the Victorian state manager, which started when I was on the Victorian State Executive. To then be elected National President was a special honour. It happened at a time when AILA was facing challenges on multiple fronts and some significant decisions needed to be made.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the CEO, AILA staff, the Board and members, things are looking very positive for the future. The growth in membership to around 3000 members, up from about 1300 in 2013, is the best evidence of how far AILA has progressed.
I was recently part of the selection process for the new AILA CEO which was a time to reflect on the enormous contribution Shahana has made. As she noted in her farewell message, AILA has ‘… come a long way baby,’ since she was appointed.
It’s great to see Shahana take the next step in her career and I’m excited to see what the new CEO, Tim Arnold, will bring to the role as he works with the AILA Board to oversee the next chapter in the history of AILA.
Since finishing my time on the Board, AILA has continued to raise the profile of the profession through activities such as the Living Cities Workshop, Federal and State government advocacy, and the launch of Foreground.
Which urban landscape projects excite you at the moment, in Australia or international?
I’ve always enjoyed seeing the work of landscape architects achieving terrific outcomes on what might be seen as an ‘everyday’ or ‘ordinary’ projects.
The profession is always exposed to new concepts, such as placemaking, tactical urbanism and more recently biophilic design.
These ideas are important responses to current design challenges, but the fundaments of landscape architecture have proven to be the best way to provide the community with long-lasting outcomes.
Managing urban growth is a key challenge for Australian cities. In parts of the country, the speed with which growth has accelerated has not been matched by the creation of new open spaces, open space upgrades and streetscape enhancements.
An encouraging step in the evolution of Australian cities has been the proliferation of light rail projects around Australia. While it is a step in the right direction, there is still more to be done.
Which of your design projects are you most proud of, in terms of bringing lasting value to a community?
Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architecture (FFLA) celebrated ten years as a practice this year. It has been interesting to look back at some of the projects over that period.
Sometimes a community can take you on journey that was not evident when the project started. A project with Gippsland Lakes Community Health in Lakes Entrance was one of these.
It started with working with the Indigenous and broader community on the design of outdoor spaces as part of new building works at the community health facility. It led to discussions about the area’s history, the shared appreciation of the natural environment, and the desire to create spaces for community events and art installations.
Our role evolved to be less about design and more as a facilitator to help the community get to where they wanted to go. I consider myself lucky to have been taken on that journey.
Over the past few years, FFLA has increasingly taken a lead in broader-scale strategic projects, which has introduced a different dimension to community interaction but also the scale of influence.
We prepared the Western Metropolitan Regional Trails Strategic Plan for the six inner-west metropolitan councils of Melbourne, which is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia.
More than 900 km of riding was completed as part of the trail assessments, with recommendations considering broader community benefits such as tourism opportunities and sustainable transport. Already key projects have received funding and we look forward to seeing the ‘missing links’ constructed in the coming years.
Update: The Western Metropolitan Regional Trails Strategic Plan has been shortlisted in the 2017 Australian Urban Design Awards.
You have three sons. How do they influence your ideas for reimagining parks, urban precincts and community spaces?
My sons have had a very different life to the one I had growing up in suburban Mount Waverley. When they were younger, they opened my eyes to the importance of creating kid-friendly spaces.
Increasingly, it is about reassuring parents that an environment is safe for kids to explore independently. It goes beyond parks to include streetscapes with fundamental elements such as continuous path networks and well-defined road crossings, especially if you want people to walk and ride more.
It has been interesting to see how my boys respond to different urban and natural environments as we have travelled around Australia and overseas. As they move through their teenage years and into adulthood, I look forward to more shared adventures and moments of enlightenment.
The FFLA studio is involved with teaching university students ecology and sustainable design. What interests you most about the next generation of designers?
There has never been a better time to be a landscape architecture student as the influence and breadth of the profession continues to grow. We enjoy sharing our experiences with students, as well as learning from their perspectives and interpretation of issues.
Discussing our work in sensitive ecological environments and coastal settings is a particularly interesting area to explore. Students are aware that during their professional careers they will need to develop solutions to deal with the impacts of climate change and global warming.
Understanding natural systems is a key part of developing strategies and designs that deal with current and future community needs.
You were one of the first landscape architecture students to complete the Timber Furniture Workshop at the University of Melbourne. What did you learn about the qualities of timber?
The studio was a terrific opportunity to explore the design and construction of an object. It required research into the source of different timbers in Victoria, material qualities, suitability for exterior use, the distribution of tree species across the state, and ethical decisions about plantation and old-growth timber.
Timber selection investigations overlapped with plant ecology subjects I had studied as an elective in the botany faculty. It revealed to me the impacts (both positive and negative) a designer can have on the natural environment, which is a responsibility I still take very seriously.
In Profile is a Q&A series featuring Australian influencers of the public realm.
Interviewees are players in the public sphere with compelling stories, not always affiliated with SFA.
To nominate a subject, please contact the editor via email@example.com
Three landscape architects share their thoughts on the Voice History is calling as Australians head to the polls for a referendum on October 14, 2023, to vote on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) said it encourages all members to “engage deeply with the available information, contemplate its implications, and arrive at an informed stance that aligns with your values and beliefs. “As landscape architects, we often find ourselves at the intersection of nature, culture, politics and history, aiming to craft spaces that resonate with the stories and experiences of those who inhabit them. This unique position imparts a special responsibility upon us to be both informed and sensitive to the cultural dimensions of our work.” AILA has compiled referendum …
Charlene Bordley (photo: right), the visionary founder of Parramatta Bike Hub, Parramatta Bike Tours and Addventageous, creates programs for ‘hard-to-reach’ groups including First Nations communities, women, seniors and disadvantaged youth. She met with StreetChat writer Kari Hill at the new home of the Parramatta Bike Hub on Wangal country, along the Parramatta River in Sydney Olympic Park. Charlene’s passion for making a difference in the community can be seen across the many social enterprise programs she runs. Wearing her uniform of blue, yellow and green, each colour symbolises a program: Blue for Addvantageous, Yellow for Parramatta Bike Tours and Green for the Parramatta Bike Hub. Social enterprise Addvantageous started off as a school program when Charlene gained confidence as a returning cyclist later in life. She experienced the benefits of …
Konstantin Dimopoulos is New Zealand–raised artist who has worked extensively in Melbourne, Australia and is currently based in Tennessee in the US. His successful environmental art installation The Blue Trees has been re-created around the world, including at Sydney’s Pirrama Park in 2016. StreetChat talks to him about activist art in urban spaces. The Blue Trees has been installed multiple times around the world. What have you observed from presenting the work to different cultures? I think that people around the world are basically the same. They all realise the huge issue that we have with global warming and the importance of rainforests and old growth forests to our survival as a species. Purveyors of water, consumers of carbon, treasure-houses of species – the world’s forests are ecological miracles. People want …
Michael White moved to Darwin as a landscape architect with CLOUSTON Associates on a two-year plan. Nine years later, he tells StreetChat about life and practice in the Northern Territory. What are some challenges when bringing projects to life in the Top End? Despite being a capital city and the supposed ‘gateway to Asia’, Darwin and the Top End can be very remote. Some of the challenges associated with this remoteness include costs to deliver a project, lack of a skilled workforce and a willingness to try something new. Being slightly removed has its benefits as well. We don’t seem to be occupied by the latest design trends or seeking self-gratification through ‘sexy design’. If we manage to get one tree planted in a small patch of grass in a remote …
StreetChat interviews new AILA National President Linda Corkery. Linda is a highly respected landscape architect with a trifecta portfolio of responsibility: AILA National President, Associate Professor at UNSW and Director of Corkery Consulting. We chat about AILA, the future of cities and how women are faring in her industry. Can you tell us about your journey, from the US to Hong Kong, to Australia? My journey to landscape architecture started at Cornell University in upstate New York. At Cornell, I completed master degrees in urban and regional planning and in landscape architecture. There were a few international students in the program, including an Australian fellow I got to know quite well, Noel Corkery. I finished my studies and headed to Chicago, working first in an urban planning consultancy and then in …