Australia has taken home the Landscape Project of the Year Award at the 2013 World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore.

The Australian Garden, designed by landscape studio Taylor Cullity Lethlean and Paul Thompson, won the prestigious award during World Architecture Week.

The Australian Garden is Victoria’s newest botanic garden and is located in Cranbourne, Victoria, a division of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

“Like a botanic garden, it is a collection of difference, but with a strong unifying set of journeys through the various landscapes,” said the award’s judging panel.

Australian landscapes

The journey of water through Australian landscapes

From the desert to the rugged coast, the landscaped garden encapsulates everything landscape architecture should including ecology, architecture, horticulture, and art. Over 170,000 plants from 1,700 species grow on the 15-hectare former sand quarry site. The gardens send visitors on a metaphorical journey of water through the various landscapes that comprise Australia.

“This garden brilliantly summarises the greatvariety of Australian flora as well as the large part of the country which is arid desert,” the jury said.

The re-creation of the Australian landscape is used for educational, scientific and conservation purposes, and is enjoyed by visitors and scientists alike. The botanic garden is one of many gardens worldwide now refocusing efforts on portraying a message of landscape conservation and meaningful engagement for visitors. The primary goal is to teach about the importance of sustainability and biodiversity.

While most of Australia’s gardens are based on European designs, the Australian Garden uses the nation’s landscape as inspiration, celebrating its diversity and contrasting elements.

Cranbourne's Australian Gardens

Cranbourne’s Australian Gardens

The garden’s east side includes exhibition gardens, research plots, display landscapes and a plethora of forestry areas with formal designs whereas the west side features gardens with natural cycles and irregular form.

“This landscape stood out with its originality and strong evocation of Australian identity without having to use any signs or words – just the beautiful flora of Australia’s countryside,” the jury said.

Instead of importing new soil into the former sand quarry which was lacking any substantial amount of rich soil, the design team selected specific native plants that could adapt to the challenging site conditions including drought tolerance and low water needs.

A guide for personal landscaping and promoter of native Australian flora, the Australian Garden protects integral ecosystems and defends Australia’s biological heritage.