Indigenous Design Efforts recognised at AILA Landscape Architecture Awards
Congratulations to the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) for winning the prestigious 2021 AILA* Victorian Chapter Award of Excellence for Research, Policy and Communications for the LXRP Indigenous Design Guidelines!
Developed by WSP’s Allan Murray, Principal Consultant, Aboriginal Affairs, in collaboration with the LXRP team – the Indigenous Design Guidelines were created as a tool to further empower Traditional Owners, Aboriginal designers and delivery partners on future projects.
“The judges described the LXRP’s Indigenous Design Guidelines as an exemplary guiding document for collaboration and engagement with Aboriginal Culture and knowledge in the built environment.”
Embedding Indigenous Design into the Southern Program Alliance
WSP is at the forefront of industry change when it comes to Indigenous co-design and established an Indigenous Specialist Services team four years ago to create a pathway for connecting Country to Infrastructure projects.
As Guy Templeton, CEO Asia Pacific says, “Every project we work on takes place on First Peoples’ Land. To have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples engaged in the design process for infrastructure that will help communities thrive well into the future, is key to broadening the way we all connect to Country.”
In Victoria, the state government’s Level Crossing Removal Program is overseeing the largest rail infrastructure project in the state’s history – with the removal of 75 of Melbourne's most dangerous and congested level crossings by 2025.
The Southern Program Alliance (SPA) is removing level crossings on the Frankston line. The project is being delivered by an alliance of WSP, Acciona Coleman Rail, Metro Trains Melbourne and the Level Crossing Removal Project.
As design partner for the project, WSP has been working closely with representatives of Boonwurrung/Bunurong, and now Wurundjeri Country, in Victoria, on design and integration in the southern program of works, including level crossings removals in Seaford, Cheltenham, Mentone, Carrum, Edithvale, Bonbeach and early works on the Hurstbridge line.
“Indigenous co-design is important if we are to progress the Australian design trajectory,” says Allan.
“The power of Aboriginal knowledge and design encompasses a potential to influence a new Australian vernacular, where designs intrinsically connect to place and context.
“While not an industry norm yet, clients are now considering this Indigenous-led design approach and want to apply it to other major projects in Australia. Our work in this area with LXRP has definitely set the benchmark for other projects as demonstrated by this award.”
Our latest achievements
Additional Works Package 1 (AWP1): Off the back of the foundational work we completed in the Initial Works Package (IWP), the Design team and wider Alliance wanted to see greater outcomes in the Indigenous Design space. With the team’s commitment, we created a platform to influence the design of the forecourt and Ramp Wall at Cheltenham station and the Forecourt gardens and screens at Mentone station.
At Cheltenham Station the cultural connection and story was presented by a local Boonwurrung/Bunurong descendant and artist Steve Parker. The forecourt paving ‘Welcome Mat’, best seen from a Bunjil view, and the Ramp Wall represent walking on and walking through country. The artwork at Cheltenham comprises:
Boon Wurrung/Bunurong community pattern- sandblasting technique into wall surface
Spiral water symbols - represents two bays
River water pattern - presents the River of Mist
Mountain Pattern - represents Warmoon
Guyeem (kangaroo tracks) and Barrarmal (emu tracks)
The artwork at Mentone comprises:
Diamond patterns in the screening at Mentone
Totem poles at Mentone featuring patterns referencing the diverse Boonwurrung/Bunurong clans.
Steve Ulula Parker designs
Learn about our other achievements
Initial Works Package (IWP): the IWP set a cultural foundation to better connect the project and staff to the Traditional Owners and to better understand the significance of the land staff are working on. As an Alliance partner, we set out key goals and milestones and a result, these outcomes were achieved:
450+ SPA staff participating in cultural awareness and/or cultural activity
Naming of meeting rooms in Boonwurrung/Bunurong language in Mentone Project Office
Eel Race Road artwork
Yarning Circle and Urban Marker
Seaford Road artwork
Carrum basketball court and Patterson River artwork (through a mentorship program)