Not just the best in the state, but the best in the country.
The Maitland Levee, love it or loathe it, has been given the thumbs up by the nation’s brightest architectural minds, after being named the best civic landscape in the country by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.
Maitland Mayor Loretta Baker said the award was an “excellent” endorsement of the reinvigorated shopping strip.
“I hope commercially it does encourage others businesses to come to the river,” she said.
“I think (the result) will encourage people to use the river and surroundings more.”
The national success for The Levee designer McGregor Coxall comes after the project took the top gong at the prestigious NSW awards in July.
It’s another endorsement of the $7m Maitland Heritage Mall upgrade, which initially drew criticism from sections of the community during its early stages over safety and heritage concerns.
Chief among those issues was the planned change to a shared pedestrian and vehicle zone, but Cr Baker said residents appeared to have adapted soundly to the development.
“People seem to have grasped the concept (of the shared zone), and to the best of my knowledge it seems to have worked pretty well,” she said.
The national judging panel, comprised of top architects from around the country, found that the Maitland project demonstrated how a “carefully considered and high quality public realm project can transform the economic, social and environmental fortunes of a place”.
Judges also praised McGregor Coxall for their work in addressing retail tenancy levels throughout the mall, which sat at 50 per cent in 2010, compared to full tenancy now.
After winning the state award in July, McGregor Coxall CEO and founder Adrian McGregor said he foresaw the project would “win even more awards”.
With the design successful at national level and also shortlisted at the Australian Urban Design Awards to be held later this month, he could be right.