Return to Royal Park – Natureplay

DSC_4710The design of the new Natureplay playspace on the site of the old RCH is inspired by the seven seasons of the Wurundjeri – as based on the Kulin seasonal calendar located in the Forest Gallery at Melbourne Museum.

This park is a great way to discover and understand Indigenous Melbourne through immersion of play in a natural and native environment. The locations and species of the plants and play elements provide direct relationships with the seven seasons of the playspace.

Some facts of Natureplay at Royal Park:

  • Undertaken as a Partnership between City of Melbourne with Department of Health
  • Is approximately 4ha in area
  • Had a budget of approx $5 M

Some key objectives were to:

  • integrate this new park space within Royal Park and the wider CoM open space network
  • Provide a new focus in Royal Park to support a growing population and potentially greater use
  • increase the diversity of recreation opportunities and amenities within the park
  • provide opportunities for children’s play, & family and community based
  • activity create a landscape that allows for environmental and indigenous cultural
  • interpretation & awareness
  • establish a framework to guide future management of this landscape

The community inspired principles derived from the first phase of consultation which informed the design were to:

  1. Create a native park which complements the existing vegetation and the landscape character of Royal Park.
  2. Build a place which provides passive and active recreation opportunities for all members of the community including children, the elderly and people with a disability.
  3. Create a sense of entry to Royal Park that is accessible and welcoming.
  4. Design a place for creative and natural play.
  5. Provide appropriate level of amenities to support the park users.

(Refer to the Ideas Plan, as part of the link provided at the end of this blog for more information, including the consultation process).

Children were pivotal to the design of Natureplay, and were involved in a program of being engaged with nature at a very early stage in the process.

Main play element at Natureplay

DSC_4688The climbing forest is a reminder of the primate enclosures at the Melbourne Zoo – especially with a landing perched half way up around a post. The rope ladders and notched poles give you the sense you are about to climb up to a trapeze – not for the faint hearted!! Let the children climb!

The built up mound in the background is the perfect location to view the Melbourne skyline, before your inner child takes over and you find yourself rolling down its side in glee back down to the bottom…

DSC_4699The rocky escarpment allows the children scramble up the extensive mudstone boulders. Depending upon the route they take, this experience could range from being moderately easy to quite challenging, and vary in experience every single time. It is also a great environment for the children to begin to understand the concept of challenge and risk to achieve the end goal – a reward of whizzing down one of the customized slides to match their level of bravery!!!

DSC_4683It’s really encouraging to see that the park rangers really understand and embrace the notion of loose parts in open ended play, and provide material for the children to use as they wish (in addition to specific planting undertaken to provide for this method of play). Here some children have brought over dead tree branches to provide more screening to what at that time was their cubby frame. (This structure is an interpretation of the notion of burrowing – Wombat season).

DSC_4719Water play instigated by the children via manual hand pumping can be further explored with the inclusion of removable dam walls, before it runs into a sandpit. The wet part of the sandpit seems to be loved by the children more-so than the dry part…who would have thought?

DSC_4727The climbing and net structure (be it whatever the children want it to be) requires some careful thought over the best way to tackle it along its full length – it can be quite complex and challenging as there are many options to consider…

DSC_4710A linear row of swings are orientated over the playground and towards the city so whilst swinging you have the perception of soaring up over the landscape below….

Another small detail that has been incorporated into the design is the animal tracks that are set into the paths. They have not only been located in regards to their spacings and the weight bearing portion of their imprints, they have also been directed towards plants in areas that that they would normally frequent.

Currently there is only minimal interp signage. Proposed additional interp signage will provide users with more information on the many layers of information this park provides in regards to the seasonal knowledge and the relationships the Wurundjeri people had with plants, animals and the local environment throughout the seasons. Current ideas of future programs for children and other appropriate events in this space will only enhance our understanding of the proud, living culture of Indigenous Melbourne, from the young to the young at heart.

For more information refer to the City of Melbourne website, and also to the Ideas Plan and draft Design Brief here: http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutCouncil/Meetings/Lists/CouncilMeetingAgendaItems/Attachments/10457/5.5%20RETURN%20TO%20ROYAL%20PARK%20SCHEMATIC%20DESIGN%20AND%20PROJECT%20UPDATE.pdf

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It’s Effluent Tourism Darling!

The AILA Cultivate group organised a tour to the fascinating Western Treatment Plant in Werribee Victoria last month, led by Principal Biodiversity Scientist from Melbourne Water Will Steele.

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WTP Figure 6 – Fauna and Flora

Siting facts:
– 105 square kms of WTP plant, built in 1896
– Treats 55% of Melbourne’s waste (shower water & sewerage etc.)
– Located in Werribee so mainly gravity fed as all downhill from Melbourne with only 2 pump stations (via 4.5m dia pipe)!
– Hoppers crossing pump is 8 stories high and super sci-fi
– And because sits in a rain shadow of the Otways ranges (ie lower rainfall to optimise evaporation)

You yangs

You Yangs

Habitat & Ecological values:
– Agriculture and urbanisation in Victoria has threated wetland ecosystems, subsequently WTP has become an important substitute
– The “old sewage treatment lagoons” have been modified and now provide a world significant bird refuge due to the provision of: lots of water – even in drought, nutrients and space with limited people & foxes managed
– Ramsar listed wetlands as a major migratory bird path with thousands of rare and endangered bird species!!!!
– Research counts have shown up to 300,000 invertebrates/m square on intertidal mudflats
– The ecologists working at WTP can finely tune the water levels of the ponds to provide a variety of habitat types for different bird species/plants
– Flat treatment lagoons with rock beaching are gradually being regraded with planted banks and an undulating base to the ponds to create more variety water depth

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Reshaped retention pond to provide habitat diversity

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Birds galore

watchers

Bird watchers

For $50/year you can apply for a key to access the prime bird watching areas. http://www.melbournewater.com.au/getinvolved/activities/Birdwatching/Pages/Apply-for-a-birdwatching-permit.aspx

Treatment steps:
1. Anaerobic pond – raw sewage is digested by anaerobic bacteria
2. Biproduct of bacteria is methane which is collected from under covers & powers 90% of the WTP!
3. Biosolids stockpiled from the ponds – not yet used from the WTP although used everywhere else in world (fertilisers, fuels or even concretes). Part of issue is they have stores from 1890s which include contaminants such as heavy metals (and they have not sorted by era).
4. Aerobic ponds/Stepped lagoons – nutrients consumed by aerobic bacteria, water evaporates
5. Class C water released into the bay
6. Some water is recycled, has been a valuable asset in times of drought

Great to see human infrastructure interventions with such a holistically positive outcome!

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Piped to Hoppers Crossing

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Stage 1, seagulls have first dibs

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Methane gas captured from under the covers to provide electricity for WTP.

Methane plan

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Auckland Waterfront featured in TOPSCAPE

The project designed by T.C.L with Wraight + Associates (WA) for the Auckland Waterfront won the 8th Rosa Barba Landscape Prize at the International Biennale of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona. North Wharf Promenade and Silo Park proves how a redevelopment project in a former industrial site can champion a new design sensibility for landscape architecture.

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The redesign convinced local authorities of the important symbolic value of the port’s historic activities, and the wisdom of prizing them as strong elements in the neighbourhood’s new vitality. Avoiding real estate speculation and a waterfront tourist complex in favour of lowering costs by reusing materials, maintaining context and structures, and catering to activities like fishing, are some of the design strategies that convinced the Rosa Barba jury chaired by Michael van Gessel.

TOPSCAPE #18: p64 – P71


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TCL wins the National Award for Research and Communication

all booklets cmyk 1As a profession landscape architects generally tend not to record the reasons for the success or failure of their projects to provide guidance for themselves or others in the future. Taylor Cullity Lethlean has recognized this and has instituted a dedicated research unit to capture and distil the lessons learnt, not only from their own projects but also from projects designed by other firms. More importantly they have generously set out to share their research with their colleagues in the landscape architecture community.

The research is carried out through a culture of staff involvement and involves alliances with fellow professionals and the medium through which it is disseminated is the Tickle series of booklets, of which five have been produced to date on topics such as Waterfronts and Streetscapes. These booklets are beautifully designed to present the material in a serious yet easily comprehended format, resisting the temptation to overcomplicate the data.

The jury commended TCL for this important contribution to the profession.

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Topos 87 – ‘Coastal Strategies’

Our climate is in a constant state of flux where the forces of nature are becoming increasingly unpredictable. Previously, we witnessed the effectiveness of megastructures such as barriers, dykes, dams, and many more as a means of protection. However with the heightening sense of uncontrollability these structures now lack a level of responsiveness to the ever changing conditions surrounding us. Climate change and other phenomena have led to the questioning of the existing approaches undertaken as risk management when it comes to extreme weather conditions. Adaptive and flexible systems are emerging as a response to these conditions.

Topos 87 – ‘Coastal Strategies’ explores these issues through a series of projects that identify multiple contemporary frameworks of dealing with affected coastlines.

Topos_87-737x492Topos_87_coastal_strategies_Mossop_Mississippi-737x492The swamps and wetlands of the Mississippi Delta are being destroyed by interventions like the logging canals seen here in the Maurepas Swamp.

The Future of the Dutch Coast

The National Coastal Strategy was launched to challenge sea level rise in the Netherlands. Atelier Kust­kwalitei (Coastal Quality Studio), investigate natural dynamics as an approach to improving the quality of the Dutch coast; for coastal defence and spatial quality.

Zandmotor vlucht-30 10-01-2012 foto: Rijkswaterstaat/Joop van Houdt

Competition Rebuild by Design

How can coastal landscapes serve as protective ecological infrastructure for growing cities? How can we measure, test, and ­rebuild these critical – and endangered – shallow-water ecosystems?

One of the winning proposals “Living Break­waters” for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ­Rebuild by ­Design competition advances the ongoing ­exploration of the critical relationship ­between water, nature, and urban culture.

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‘Atmeture’, bringing architecture to life in the UK.

Located in Letchworth’s Broadway Gardens ‘Atmeture’ has been described as an “experiment in breath and space” by its creators Mathias Gmachl and Rachel Wingfield from Loop.pH. The installation explores a process that merges biological design elements with digital technology. “The approach recognizes architecture as a process and in a state of constant repair, and builds on the unique ability of textiles to flow, dissect and create configurable, flexible and adaptable environments,” Loop.p.H explain. The properties of the materials used adapt and respond to their surroundings which allows the public to experience a constantly evolving structure.

This structure is featured at the Fire & Fright Festival, which delivers a series of events ad interventions commissioned by onedotzero and Letchworth Garden City Council.

The event runs from October 28 – November 5 2014.

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/en_au/blog/an-alien-tunnel-is-breathing-clouds-in-the-uk?utm_source=tcpfbanz

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Remembrance Poppyscape

poppies-london-witness

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/nov/06/tower-of-london-poppies-removed-12-november-blood-swept-lands-and-seas-of-red

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