An international ideas competition has been held by the New South Wales chapter of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA NSW) to gather ideas on how to counter expected sea level rise, using Sydney Harbour as a case study.
The competition also seeks to heighten public awareness of the sea level rise problem and show that landscape architects are putting thought on how to secure living space for the future.
As the submissions were not readily comparable, the jury headed by Allen Kearns, Deputy Chief of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), decided to award three equal first prizes:
Embassy of the Drowned Nations is the title of the entry submitted by the Sydney-based architect firm Oculus (see image). Designed to provoke, it presents a building that reaches far beneath the water around old Fort Dennison and is intended as a temporary refuge for people who lose their homes to the sea and as a centre for research and documentation.
Pierre Bélanger's Opsys landscape architecture lab of Harvard focuses on Botany Bay, Sydney airport and the low-lying lands along the Alexandria Canal and as such proposes a vision – Subtropical Sydney– for re-engineering involving the creation of new waterways, a new ecosystem and an apron of mangroves to protect the airport.
Sea-Life by NMGS of Queensland presents concrete ideas on how to refashion shorelines, as in the case of popular Balmoral Beach. Its conceptual design solutions could form the start of a design manual offering solutions that can be adapted according to the degree of sea level rise.
Sacha Coles, President of AILA NSW, is highly pleased with the submissions, which in view of the complex topic took very varied approaches.