A close collaboration between Architect, Artist & Landscape Architect allowed a seamless integration and overall cohesiveness on a site that lacked identity & hierarchy.
The existing condition of the site shared by two growing schools felt hectic and disjointed from the ‘on demand’ way that the ad-hoc collection of buildings and spaces evolved, resulting in a lack of permanency.
On this site, a shared driveway separated the two schools, acting as a barrier between them. With the new Chapel situated at the end of this driveway an opportunity was presented to re-define the relationship and connection between the two schools through the landscape.
The main driveway, reborn as a commanding avenue of lime Gleditsia foliage leads your eye to the chapel forecourt, where meandering timber platforms create seating and gathering spaces as well as inform areas to spectate on the nearby sports courts.
An axis line running from the altar of the Chapel extends out from the building in the form of bluestone cobbles, it cuts through the forecourt pavement, the bell tower, and eventually slices into the road surface to affirm this directional focus.
Reflecting the gentle arcs in the Chapel’s Architecture, radiating arcs throughout the landscape paving treatment reach out, linking the Chapel forecourt with each school, intern bringing the two schools together, breaking down the divide that has existed on this site for so long
A large emphasis is based on connecting the indoor & outdoor spaces of the Chapel, the pavement materials penetrate into the building to inform the floor treatments and vice versa. When the Chapel facade opens, this continuity allows a large extension of the Chapel’s usable space outside whilst maintaining a feeling of being in one connected space.
Different pavement types, textures and materials aim to create directional flow, physical connection and nominate areas of active flow and passive social activity. A 3-way granite paving pattern defines the directional avenue through the forecourt. Bands of exposed aggregate concrete reach out to create physical connections between the 2 schools and the Chapel. Timber is used in pockets to define ‘slower’ moving areas for seating, social interaction and reflection. Adding to this, solid bluestone blocks extrude through the timber decking to create a tight network of seating and lounging platforms providing for more intimate social activity.
The planting scheme is dense, rich and fresh in colour to help rejuvenation a grey, cold environment. The purple of the Jacaranda flowers and Lavender beds are set off against the soft golden tones of the rammed earth walls and granitic gravel, while tufts of green aim to soften screen and shelter select areas within the site.
To the south of the building, shallow lawn terraces reflect a kink in the copper building facade. The terraces gradually step down and encapsulate the a small reflection space which sits beneath the umbrella of a Ginkgo (Maidenhair) tree.
Timber - Yellow Stringy Bark
Solid Bluestone Blocks
xposed Aggregate Concrete
Off-form White Concrete
Typically landscape architecture responds to a pre-existing architectural design or condition. It is a common bind in which landscape architecture finds itself being somewhat limited by the ‘left-over’ spaces dedicated to it.
This is often the case in the educational environment where the priority & emphasis lies with buildings, leaving landscape to develop sporadically as an afterthought.
The interface was different. In an area set aside by the College for a ‘future’ Chapel, it was the landscape that informed the first design lines on this site. Not yet having the funding for the building works, the College was keen to earmark the site with a significant & sacred space that lent itself to the workings of a future Chapel development in the years ahead.
The physical parameters of the site presented the greatest challenge in this project, stretching only 10 meters at its widest point, and dropping almost 2.5m across this width from the neighbouring building. A key early design decision was to embrace the opportunities presented by the levels and incorporate a range of uses that take advantage of the sloped site.
The final design carves prominent features into the slope which provide for multiple functionality, allow access and also stamp a sacred significance on this site, separating it from other external spaces within the college grounds.
These features include:
1. A large formed concrete amphitheatre informing the future external space at the entrance to the Chapel, whilst also providing an outdoor performance, reflection & social space which from the elevated site gazes over its suburban context to the rural farmland in the distance.
2. The bluestone ‘pyramid’ stair which provides a grand & formal link to the Chapel site from the space above. Taking in the vast views across the district as you are funneled to its entrance by rammed earth walls extruding from the courtyards below. The stair descends, and sprawls out to embrace the greater Chapel site.
3. A network of triangle terraces that break down sections of the interface offering opportunity for social interaction, activity, outdoor learning and reflection.
4. A series of ‘sunken’ reflection courtyards which fill in the hollowed & void spaces created by the larger elements, and offer opportunities to experience the textures & materiality at an intimate level, tucked away deep within the private pockets created by the high rammed earth walls and tree canopies. These spaces offer a moment of peace, out of the elements and the chaotic scenes of a College lunch break.
A key part of earmarking this site was the construction of 2 rammed earth towers. Standing majestically in open space created by the interface, the towers will eventually form integral parts of the Chapel building. The 12 meter high bellower and 8 meter high water tower have a commanding presence over the site. The towers are linked back to the interface through the vine covered rammed earth walls which emerge throughout the carved landscape forming a directional focus within the site. Along with the towers, these earth walls work to affirm a sense of permanency and foresight within the college.
It was important for this forecourt to be a unique, captivating space with strong and long lasting integrity within a school environment of lightweight commercial building finishes. Materials that patina and age gracefully such as timber, rammed earth, bluestone and raw concrete were used throughout the project for this reason, while the vegetation was selected to soften the hard edge of the existing buildings and paved infrastructure. Vines and high plant density aim to create an overgrown feeling enhancing the sense of time & permanence, while delicate, colour-rich foliage & flowers aim to create a mythical aura once the canopies of the trees develop & mature.
Timber - Eucalyptus resinifera
Granite Rock Boulders
Granite stair nosing
Refurbishment of M1 Members entrance at Sydney Cricket Ground.
In-house design & fabrication of feature steel & bronze elements.
Hand Linished Stainless Steel
Early Learning Centre Playspace, Rivercrest College.
Ironbark Timber Sleepers
Granite Rock Boulders
Landscape approach into college + forecourt for new Chapel
An elevated viewing deck which sits at the highest point of its site is cradled by this sculptural form. The beams of rusted steel create a prominent entrance to the space as they reach over you, and then encourage the vast aspect across the district as they gracefully unfold and open to the view.
Rusted Mild Steel
A study into re-connecting the town of Kilcunda to its raw and beautiful coastline with a considerate approach aiming to preserve the rugged qualities, not over 'develop' them.
Front Promenade connecting the College and Chapel through a landscape avenue.
Exposed Aggregate Concrete Paving
Bluestone Blocks * Cobbles
Furniture Timber - Eucalyptus resinifera & Eucalyptus cypellocarpa
Surface Timber - Ironbark
Granite Rock Boulders
Rusted mild Steel
Rendered blockwork - to match existing
Internal quadrangle landscape refurbishment.
Previously a drab and tired space located centrally in the campus, the college saw potential for this space to become an exciting hub & precinct for the students to enjoy and be proud of.
Surrounded by 2 story buildings on 3 sides, it was a hard and cold space. Therefore the design of this quadrangle focussed on a rich mix of textures finishes to diffuse the hard environment, and provide for a multitude of uses to engage the students and encourage them to embrace their college.
Timber - Euc. resinifera
granite & bluestone paving
exposed aggregate concrete
Stage 3 Landscape for new Campus.