PLACE Lab’s Young Talent Louis de Saran Awarded Landscape Student Prize

PLACE Lab’s Young Talent Louis de Saran Awarded Landscape Student Prize

Our newest member to the PLACE Laboratory team Louis de Saran has won the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and Miracle Lappset Prizes for Excellence in Design – Level 2 for his studio project “The Breathing Suburb” as part of the Landform Studio. Louis is a current Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Student at UWA and a promising young landscape architect talent.

The Landform Studio ran in semester 2 2020 and the UWA School of Design was a collaboration between To & Fro Studio, second-year landscape architecture and architecture students. Together, the studio proposed interventions for the riverside suburb of Ashfield, considering the role that design can play in facilitating an authentic relationship to place.




The project “Breathing Suburb” project links the suburb of Ashfield from the rail reserve along Guildford Road to the Ashfield flats at the edge of the Swan River through manipulation of hardscape and vegetation. The ground­ing experience of Ashfield saw a lacking connection between the people and ecological history of the biodi­verse site of Ashfield. The Ashfield flats sit as a socially and environmentally important aspect of the site, which in its current condition, have significant disconnection to the residential form. Hard edges and contrast between the flats and the residential form of Ashfield see significant opportunities for ecological expansion into the residential area. The “Breathing Suburb” explores conceptual understandings of natural gradients and aspects of permeability. The project explores the loss of past natural expansion events of the Derbal Yerrigan during flooding events into the wider Ashfield area as a key element of design. The “Breathing Suburb” project works to link Ashfield through connecting, water, people and ecology by using locally found materials and vegetation with the implementation of permeable hardscape works.

The Ashfield Place Value project by To & Fro Studio and Daniel Jan Martin was a recent recipient of the 2021 AILA WA Award of Excellence for Research, Policy & Communication which explored the potential for a landscape-led approach to coordinate medium-density infill housing across Perth’s inner-city suburb of Ashfield. Typically, medium density housing and associated landscape are designed on a site-by-site basis, with little if any attention to how the development contributes to the place identity and character of the wider neighbourhood. The research turns this approach on its head by advocating for a landscape-centred approach with the landscape architect taking a central role in the revitalisation and redevelopment of Perth’s infill areas.

The jury was impressed by the potential for this research to lead to better coordination and collaboration between landscape architects, developers, planners and architects in the delivery of great urban neighbourhoods of distinctive local landscape and place character.

Well Done Louis!!


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