RMIT’s new Indigenous garden and the students behind a groundbreaking Hyperloop pod protototype have won major prizes at the Premier’s Design Awards.
Announced overnight, the awards celebrate Victoria’s best designers and innovators.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, congratulated the winners on their recognition in the state’s top design awards.
“Both these projects illustrate RMIT’s values,” Martin said.
“Situated in the heart of the City campus between University Way and the Old Melbourne Gaol, Ngarara Place is a visible recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories, as connected to the lands of the Kulin Nation on which RMIT stands.
“Ngarara Place is a tremendous addition to the City campus and a celebration of RMIT’s connection to the land’s Traditional Owners.
“Staff and students not only use it as a place for quiet reflection in the middle of a busy city, but also as an opportunity to continue celebrating Indigenous art and culture.
“RMIT is a university that fosters design, technology and enterprise, and our VicHyper students are proof that entrepreneurship and innovation are flourishing here.
“They’ve set out to help solve a major challenge for public policy – how to turn dreams of ultra-fast, environmentally-sustainable public transport into a reality, through partnership with industry and by collaborating across disciplines.”
Ngarara Place was shortlisted for three categories in the awards.
Created, designed and built mainly by an Indigenous team, the unique space draws upon traditional knowledge systems, landscape design and public art to showcase connections to the seven seasons of the Kulin Nation.
The design draws on four key pillars – Connection to Country, Cultural Motifs, Contemporary Aboriginal Art, and Knowledge exchange.
The space includes an Indigenous themed courtyard area, amphitheatre-style seating, sculptural laser-cut smoke pit, and a space to host Indigenous ceremonies, gatherings and events.
Hyperloop is revolutionising the future of transportation with the ability to travel at the speed of sound (1200 km/hr), using magnetic levitation and electrical motors within a vacuum tube.
The VicHyper team have designed and constructed a functional Hyperloop pod prototype, unveiled last month.
The Premier’s Design Award is the latest success for the multi-disciplinary team, which is off to the US in January as the only team from the Southern Hemisphere among the 30 finalists in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.
VicHyper won the Braking Subsystem Technical Excellence Award at the semi-finals earlier this year and were Highly Commended certificate at the recent #TechDiversity Awards.
The team have expertise spanning aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering, alongside graphic design, communications and industrial design.
Four of the five finalists in the Student Design category at the Premier’s Design Awards were from RMIT.
Victorian Minister of Creative Industries Martin Foley said: “These awards recognise Victorian designers and architects who go beyond the local to influence design thinking internationally.
“These finalist and winning projects are not only the best in Victoria, they are some of the best in the world, and reflect the diversity of design talent here in our creative state.”
Story: Louise Handran