PLAN RAND recognised in Architeam Awards
We recently shared that PLAN RAND had been recognised as a finalist in the 2021 Architeam Awards, and were thrilled last week to learn it had been announced as the Winner of the Innovation & Contribution category.
We were so humbled to receive this Award for a project we still feel so passionate about, but more importantly, it is huge encouragement for the dedicated community members of Rand to keep working towards their township vision.
What is Architeam?
Architeam was founded in 1991, as a membership association for Australian architects working in small, medium and emerging practices.
The leading dedicated voice of Australia’s small architectural practices, Architeam work to empower and support small practice architects in their work and professional learning, and raise the profile of our industry.
The Architeam Awards celebrate member's contribution to the Australian design community in a public forum, as well as creating an opportunity to showcase innovative and cutting edge design to the larger architectural and design community, and the general public.
The Innovation & Contribution award category is to recognise contribution and/or innovation to architecture beyond the design and production of buildings. We feel very honoured that PLAN RAND has been recognised as a finalist, another nod to the fantastic community group who spearheaded the project.
What is PLAN RAND?
PLAN RAND is a community masterplan project that we delivered in collaboration with the Rand Town Improvement Committee (RTIC), a group of local volunteers from the rural township of Rand.
In 2018, Regional Design Service attended the RTIC annual general meeting to listen in and see how we might be able to aid with project delivery and grant funding applications. What became apparent during the meeting was that the community had many ideas for their town, but no way of sorting the numerous small projects into a structured delivery plan.
Without a solid plan many projects were falling to the wayside and volunteers were burning out or loosing faith that anything could be achieved. By the end of the meeting we offered to undertake strategic vision for the town with key projects to be delivered towards its centenary in 2026.
The overriding purpose of PLAN RAND was to collate and articulate the communities’ vision, whilst proposing ongoing placemaking projects. It would also act as a case study for other small rural communities to see what can be achieved through the generation of an overarching vision.
A small town in the Riverina district of NSW, Rand was the terminus of the Rand railway line from Henty, which closed in 1975. As with many rural towns, locals have slowly moved away, and community funding is generally reactive to local problems. Government funding rounds are haphazard, and applications are authored by community members in isolation of other applications across the community.
The brief developed between RTIC and Regional Design Service was to develop a reference document for community members, in turn assisting with their capacity to justify project outcomes against other community aims and objectives.
The primary outcome for PLAN RAND was the creation of a strategic vision for members of the community to refer to when applying for government grants.
The document would also be used when communicating with Local, State and Federal Government representatives so they could efficiently and effectively understand the context of Rand, and why each small project could build towards larger Placemaking Strategies.
How has it helped the community?
PLAN RAND equipped the local community with the tools to self-initiate ongoing investment and development in their township. Further to this, there has been a noticeable increase in local volunteerism, awareness of their built and natural environment and a commitment to seeing the township turn around population decline.
From a commercial perspective, the community was awarded almost 25% of the Federation Council regions $1M Drought Funding in 2019. Projects funded were all recommendations of PLAN RAND, which included the delivery of accessible amenities and improvements to encourage overnight tourist visits. Before PLAN RAND the community struggled to justify projects for grant funding.
PLAN RAND was co-designed by the Rand Town Improvement Committee and Regional Design Service on a pro-bono basis. Whilst the initiative aimed to deliver better built outcomes for this community specifically, it can also now act as a crucial reference piece for other small rural communities to work towards enhancing outcomes in their own context.
While community planning is generally coordinated by local councils, this project provides a case study for direct engagement between the community and design specialists. Our aim as a practice is to now further explore how the rural community planning process can define the community as the ‘Client’ and local Council as a ‘Stakeholder’.