Alumni Park

Alumni Park
UNSW, Sydney, NSW

Client University of New South Wales
Year Current
Scope Design, Documentation
Team Jonathon Hoare, Peter McGregor, Carme Serrano, Chantelle Noorizadeh with Spackman Mossop and Michaels

 

Collaborators
Builder                                                Regal Innovations
Indigenous landscaping sourced by Indigigrow
Elder’s Artwork CNC routed by QueenandCrawford
Timber steps built by Hunnit Projects.

 

Awards
2022 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award for Health and Education Landscape

Alumni Park like many Public Space Projects, has a complex history of stakeholder groups, “Vision Documents”, Strategies and Masterplans. It is identified as a key open space of the lower campus.

The new light rail stop increased it’s strategic importance as a ‘Cultural Spine’ of the Kensington Campus. Recently completed building and future projects have and will further redefine and develop the space.

Along the north side of the park, paperbark tree plantings form a screen to the Buildings. The trees recall the historic swamps and landscapes. By contrast the Grimshaw buildings to the south provides a strongly ordered colonnade, along almost the entire park edge. This architecture emerges again as the roof to the below ground Timbery theatre, to form a shallow amphitheatre, known as the “tribune”.

This tribune, central to the project, was transformed into the “Meeting Place”, a place for seating, ceremony and performance. A timber blanket is folded up and over the tiled tiers to create a community seat of terraces and bleachers. Extensive indigenous consultation and a key workshop led to the development of an artwork, in counter relief, routed into the risers to create a rich elevated whole. Planters on either side, extend the Alumni landscape and with the timber bleachers, connect the space to the western landscape beyond.

To the south the grand Grimshaw order was playfully echoed and amplified with a new tree colonnade punctuated by an installation of hammocks suspended from columns at colonnade scale. Students bear witness to the park and the walk.To the north, the outdoor gym, seating and games are laid-out informally, responding to the siting of the existing paperbark plantings.

The site, originally part of an extensive system of sand dunes has a deep aquifer running beneath. Handling of water was a priority. Exploiting the sandy soil profile, all surface water was kept on the site to be discharged back to the aquifer.

 

 

Alumni walk lawn and the tribune

alumni Park lawn O week

The site has a beautiful and generous scale, bounded by buildings with regular facades and this creates the volume of a grand outdoor room.  A strategy to activate and intensify edges, whilst preserving the spacious centre was the primary idea.

First Nations People were actively involved in the project at all levels. The endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub was used as a basis for the landscape, grown and supplied by a specialist First Nation Nursery who advised, curated, grew and installed the planting for the Park. Timber for the bleachers was supplied by Darwin Stringybark. The artwork and the use of colour (blue and orange), was developed through extensive consultation with local indigenous elders and their younger interpreters.

alumni park tribune

alumni park tribune

The brief called for the main west to east pedestrian route to be formalised as “Alumni Walk”. Traffic from three gates was rationalised to one one-way crossing. The space was to become a major public pedestrian place within the campus, where past Alumni were honoured, future Alumni celebrated, and the everyday life of students was encouraged into this place of respite, relaxation, social gathering and play.

alumni park hammocks and poles

alumni park hammocks and poles

alumni park hammocks and poles

O week alumni park hammocks and poles

MWA-Alumni_Park_UNSW_Public_Architecture

MWA-Alumni_Park_UNSW_Public_Architecture

MWA-Alumni_Park_UNSW_Public_Architecture

MWA-Alumni_Park_UNSW_Public_Architecture

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