• Elisabeth Judd and Vesna Strika

    Elisabeth Judd and Vesna Strika

  • Charles Njora and Mary Porter

    Charles Njora and Mary Porter

  • Len and Maureen Macleod

    Len and Maureen Macleod

  • Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers and Chi Tang

    Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers and Chi Tang

  • Ian Noble and Brenda Hartley

    Ian Noble and Brenda Hartley

  • Robert Care and Ken Murtagh

    Robert Care and Ken Murtagh

  • Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers, Chi Tang, Rolfe Hartley and Alex Baitch

    Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers, Chi Tang, Rolfe Hartley and Alex Baitch

  • Alex Baitch, Stephen Branch and Rolfe Hartley

    Alex Baitch, Stephen Branch and Rolfe Hartley

  • Greg Stonehouse, Nick Flutter, Alex Baitch, Rolfe Hartley, Rob Bligh and Susan Milne

    Greg Stonehouse, Nick Flutter, Alex Baitch, Rolfe Hartley, Rob Bligh and Susan Milne

  • Andrew McLarty and Rachel Smith

    Andrew McLarty and Rachel Smith

  • Jude Lonergan, Richard O'Brien and Billy Coady

    Jude Lonergan, Richard O'Brien and Billy Coady

  • Matt Shadwell and James Oh

    Matt Shadwell and James Oh

  • Alan Thompson and Ross Barrett

    Alan Thompson and Ross Barrett

  • Rolfe Hartley and Alex Baitch

    Rolfe Hartley and Alex Baitch

  • Greg Stonehouse, Susan Milne, Nick Flutter and Rob Bligh

    Greg Stonehouse, Susan Milne, Nick Flutter and Rob Bligh

  • Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell, Stephen Branch and Rolfe Hartley

    Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell, Stephen Branch and Rolfe Hartley

  • Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell, Rolfe Hartley, Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers and Chi Tang

    Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell, Rolfe Hartley, Mitchell Mulvey, Brianna Towers and Chi Tang

  • Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell and Rolfe Hartley

    Alex Baitch, Simon Corbell and Rolfe Hartley

  • Simon Corbell

    Simon Corbell

  • Rolfe Hartley

    Rolfe Hartley

  • Elisabeth Judd

    Elisabeth Judd

  • Robyn Campbell and Gilbert Riedelbauch

    Robyn Campbell and Gilbert Riedelbauch

  • Simon Webber, John Anderson and Mike Evans

    Simon Webber, John Anderson and Mike Evans

  • Selina Qiu and Vesna Spasovski

    Selina Qiu and Vesna Spasovski

Freefall Experience Design Ideas Winner

1 August 2014

Simon Corbell as ACT Minister for the Environment with Engineers Australia announced the winner of the Freefall Experience Design Ideas Competition on a particularly bleak Canberra morning at the National Arboretum with Bligh Tanner’s cochlear inspired winning entry  encapsulating all the design and structural demands of a ‘sensual experience’ in their exceptional design. From above the design ends in a cochlear shape, at ground level an aesthetically pleasing blending into the landscape and the use of stainless steel and rock has an interactive system sensing its surrounds. This will no doubt provide the 'sensual' in the Engineers Australia Freefall Pin Oak Forest; which is imaginative and exciting as a concept. A long way from just hugging a tree, sniffing the aromas, listening to the rustle of the leaves or marveling at the colours that is about as sensory as my imagination goes.

This is the world of the new and judging by the youthful entrants with their intriguing designs and the myriad of possibilities the arboretum should have a design bank of possible sculptures for years to come. I loved that the boys from LUMEN had LED’s hidden in their  large metal leaves only accessible with a mobile phone and that a dinosaur egg was the inspiration for the Selina Qiu and Vesna Spasovski concept called Egg Sanctum.

But the two extra Commendations showed the judging jury couldn’t quite let these entries avoid recognition with the young team from ARUP, another Queensland firm, creating a layered mesh canopy just like a Pin Oak leaf for a sheltered space among the trees and Woolacotts Consulting Engineers of NSW a hydraulic platform of glass with a Disneyesque fun for all Kinetic Canopy Lookout.

Now of course the search for a benefactor, or several, will be instigated and hopefully this giant cochlear will spiral under the Freefall Pin Oaks before too long. In the meantime the 10 jury selected designs are on display at the Village Centre until the end of August when the sticks that are the forests will be sucking up some energy to sprout again, and we will be better able to imagine this design in situ.