ILASA Awards

The Institute of Landscape Architects of South Africa (ILASA) held its 2005 Merit Awards in September at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Gauteng. In total, there were 15 submissions and awards were made in the design and environmental categories.A panel of adjudicators judged the entries and Menno Klapwijk of Cave Klapwijk and Associates presented the awards.

LASA Award winners

Environmental Category

Mofolo-Moroka Open Space Framework

In this project, submitted by Newtown Landscape Architects, an open space framework for the green spaces in Mofolo-Moroko precincts was developed. The report was compiled very well and all relevant information for the reader was presented in a clear and simple manner. It was also well illustrated. The underlying ecological principles came out strongly – all design proposals took ecological considerations into account. The proposals responded to the question “so what,” which is not often answered in reports or studies of this nature and clearly directed decision-making since the proposed priorities and estimated costs were also given.

Galeshewe Open Space and Landscape Plan

This project, by African EPA, provided an open space and landscape plan for the Galeshewe Township near Kimberley. The report was considered to be very comprehensive and from an editorial point of view, was well written and easy to read. However, some of the cross-referencing was lacking and the source of some data was not always clear. The analysis of the area and its features was done thoroughly but it was felt that the interpretation of the data and the solutions proposed could have been more innovative. More emphasis could have been placed on the hierarchy of the open spaces (e.g. on a regional, precinct, local and neighbourhood scale) and their relationship to open or green spaces surrounding the township. The decision-making tools provides in the report to the client were sufficient to enable informed planning decisions to be made.

The public participation process that was followed was comprehensive and the entrant made every effort to determine the community’s needs. The information presented to the community, such as posters, were considered to be very appropriate.

Design Category

Moroka Park Precinct

This project, by Newtown Landscape Architects, consisted of the design and execution of three parks linked to each other in the Moroka precinct of Soweto.

The parks represent well designed open spaces in a community that lacks such facilities, and use of the parks by the community is already evident. It is also clear that the local community participated in determining the required facilities as well as in the design of specific items in the parks.

Dorothy Nyembe Park Sculptures

This project consisted of precast concrete sculptures adorning the Dorothy Nyembe Park in Johannesburg. It was submitted by Insite Landscape Architects and both the context and function of the sculptural elements were well illustrated.

The various elements share the same ‘language’ despite having different functions and applications, and are considered to be strong in form, bold and innovative. They create a feeling of animation and movement. The detailing and materials used are robust and appropriate to the context.

AEL Business Platform

This project was submitted by Green Inc Landscape Architects for the landscape design at AEL’s Business Platform in Modderfontein. The panel was of the opinion that this was a well-designed landscape, simple but still elegant, with a strong underlying design philosophy. The planting design was innovative and appropriate. Some judges felt that the presentation material could have been clearer so as to provide the adjudicators with more detailed information.

See Landscape SA of November 2004 for an in-depth article on this project.

Northern Cape Provincial Legislature

This project, for the landscape design at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature in Kimberley, was submitted by Green Inc Landscape Architects. The panel agreed that the project was very innovative in terms of its design approach and execution. The appropriateness of form, colour and texture in the hard and soft landscaping elements stands out, although some of the extensive hard paved areas may create unpleasant climatic conditions for users on the hot days that are to be expected in Kimberley. Whereas the ‘external’ planted areas were considered extremely appropriate, it was felt that some of the hard and soft landscaped areas close to or under building structures could have been more suitable in terms of the setting.

In general the panel was impressed with the execution of the project but it was assumed that budget constraints prevented the planting of larger trees in the parking areas to provide more shade.

Big Bay

This project, by Planning Partners in Cape Town, was for the landscaping in the new Big Bay development near Blouberg Strand. It included street and median landscaping as well as rehabilitation planting on the primary and secondary dune systems, previously badly degraded with alien invasive plants.

The project has a large environmental component and could perhaps have been entered in the Environmental category. Some adjudicators felt that it represented a very good environmental accomplishment rather than a classic landscape design, and that the underlying landscape concept plan could have been better illustrated.

The work was considered innovative in that the design was for an endemic xerophytic planting palette and the landscape architect worked very closely with the ecologists, horticulturists, civil engineers and a very knowledgeable landscape contractor. During the project’s construction phase and now during ongoing maintenance work, a large number of unskilled workers are afforded employment.

The project must be seen in its broader context in that it forms part of an integrated coastal development and environmental rehabilitation plan for that area.

See Landscape SA of January 2005 for an in-depth article on this project.

Freedom Park – Administration Building and Parking Area

In this project, designed by Newtown Landscape Architects, the hard and soft landscaping around the Freedom Park reception and administration section, as well as the landscaping in and around the visitor’s parking area, was presented for adjudication.

The project involved the close integration of the architecture, partly submerged below the natural ground line, with the adjacent pathways, ramps, steps, retaining walls and soft landscaping. This integration was done successfully and sensitively, with regard to the site’s natural features.

Freedom Park – Isivivane

This submission, by Newtown Landscape Architects, was for the design of the Isivivane section of the Freedom Park development on Salvokop in Pretoria. The project was very well explained and design considerations and resultant decisions were clearly communicated and well presented in text and graphics. In its execution, the design displayed excellence in creativity, social responsibility and environmental awareness.

This project is considered to be of world quality and achieved its goal with distinction. It was the recipient of the ILASA Presidential Merit Award.