2019 Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize: The University of Canberra

Wayfinder by Fehin Coffey, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Honours), The University of Canberra

Project statement

Wayfinder shows how Canberra’s open space system might be situated to mediate the human experience of grasslands in a way that promotes acceptance of Indigenous conceptions of landscape and builds positive relationships with the community. The project functions across scales and takes into account short and long-term goals within the context of Canberra. The design encourages people to care for grass-lands, which in turn encourages stewardship and the protection of Canberra’s ecological health into the future. Wayfinder aims to educate communities and reconcile them with the landscape.

Landscape architecture can make histories visible. It can also perpetuate the erasure of local stories. There is a need within contemporary Australian landscape practice for the creation of structures and places that acknowledge Indigenous knowledge for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, in a manner that resonates and engages with all.

Learning to see the landscape as a mechanism for reorienting design practices enables us to begin to recognize the wisdom contained in Canberra’s epic story. In doing so, we enter a mode of practice that recognizes and respects the inseparable relationships between landscape and people; the understanding that we are a part of and not separate from nature, and that our wellbeing is dependent on each other.

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