Industry great receives fellowship for creating great places

Wal Smith, Place Design Group Director and Townsville Principal, has been given the highest honour in the landscape architecture industry – a fellowship with the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Wal was honoured at a gala dinner on Friday night for his commitment and contribution to the industry.

“Receiving the fellowship is a wonderful acknowledgement. It is an honour to be recognised by my peers and has come about due to the great faith that my clients have placed in me and some of the wonderful sites I have been fortunate enough to work on throughout my career.” says Wal.

A renowned industry leader and advocate for the profession of landscape architecture in tropical North Queensland, Wal has been instrumental in initiating and shaping the renewal of Townsville. He has led the iconic and award winning developments of The Strand and Jezzine Barracks, which have made a broader contribution to the economic, social, cultural and environmental aspirations and values of the City and regional north Queensland.

Robert Kent, Project Manager Major Projects, Townsville City Council said, “Wal is to be congratulated on his contribution to the landscape architecture industry in Australia. The fellowship is testament to Wal’s creativity, tenacity, passion and desire for excellence in well-planned, functional, integrated, and interesting public places. His creative flare and professionalism continue to contribute to world class place making in regional centres.”

Jezzine Barracks, with landscape design led by Wal and project managed by Townsville City Council, is the latest project that has shone a spotlight on Wal and also put great coastal planning and design on the map for Queensland. Hailed Australia’s ‘Great Place’ by PIA last month it is now in consideration for the international Walking Visionaries award as part of Walk21 Vienna.

Place Design Group Managing Director, Shaun Munday, says Wal has been instrumental in many of Queensland’s great coastal projects. “Having led his own firm from 1992 to 2006 and then joining Place Design Group, Wal’s extensive experience in coastal and island foreshore, tourism, and resort projects is second to none. Wal’s strong understanding of the need to deliver projects that have community support whilst always providing leading edge design solutions suited to the local environment is what makes him one of the industry greats and a highly respected leader in our team.”

A role model for other landscape architects, Wal is known widely for his approachability and generous spirit. He continues to contribute to the community, locally and beyond, being part of a network of professional and community leaders who strive to make the world a better place through the creation of great places.