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SA firm scores global architecture award

Arts

South Australian landscape architecture firm Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) has won the Landscape of the Year Award at the World Architecture Festival Awards for the second year in a row.

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TCL was presented with the honour in Singapore on Friday night for its design of the National Arboretum in Canberra.

The firm, which also has offices in Melbourne, spent 10 years working on the multi-million dollar facility – containing 100 forests of the world’s most endangered tree species – in collaboration with Sydney firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.

“It's a bit like a Noah's Ark for trees,”said TCL director Scott Adams.

“The key design principle was that, as an arboretum, rather than a collection of individual trees, we proposed that there should be a collection of forests.

“Those forests would be of rare, endangered and significant trees from around the world.”

The National Arboretum trumped a shortlist of 10 entries from Australia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Switzerland and Turkey.

“The competition at the World Architecture Festival was very strong and (it is) a great thrill to win against such a strong international selection of projects,” said Adams.

“It’s a fantastic honour to win the award, and especially to win it two years running.”

The project was the result of a design competition to revive the landscape following the Black Christmas Canberra bushfires of 2001.

Adams told InDaily it was “a once in a lifetime opportunity to do a project that is significant not for our generation, but for future generations”.

“It will be a project that probably won’t be truly realised in completion for another 30 or 40 years as the trees mature.”

The tree collection is used as both a public botanical garden and a research facility for scientists, helping them understand how trees are affected by pests, diseases, seasons, soil, nutrition and other factors.

The facility, which functioned as the centrepiece of Canberra's 2013 centenary celebrations, also contains a state-of-the-art children’s playground and a visitor's centre.

In 2013, TCL won the Landscape of the Year Award for its work on the Australian Garden in Victoria.

TCL also won the Rosa Barba Landscape Prize, in collaboration with Wraight + Associates, earlier last week.

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