2018 Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize: The University of Melbourne

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An illusion of “wildness”: A wavy landform provides a sense of order through repetition and creates intimate microclimates with different vegetation manifesting as a repetition of colour and texture.

An illusion of “wildness”: A wavy landform provides a sense of order through repetition and creates intimate microclimates with different vegetation manifesting as a repetition of colour and texture. Image: Kunpeng Wang

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This image highlights the transition between geometric hard surfaces and the chaos of the vegetation. The paved area uses arrayed geometry and introduced trees (such as Blackwood) to create an almost ‘old-fashioned’ order to frame small patches of novel ecologies. This area is designed as a permanent event space, while to the left, basalt rocks cover areas with higher evaporation rate where plants are most likely to become messy.

This image highlights the transition between geometric hard surfaces and the chaos of the vegetation. The paved area uses arrayed geometry and introduced trees (such as Blackwood) to create an almost ‘old-fashioned’ order to frame small patches of novel ecologies. This area is designed as a permanent event space, while to the left, basalt rocks cover areas with higher evaporation rate where plants are most likely to become messy. Image: Kunpeng Wang

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These sections demonstrate not only how the design works spatially but most critically how ecological succession changes the design at the scale of the site. To explore these changes in detail, I selected five key areas to showcase five succession patterns.

These sections demonstrate not only how the design works spatially but most critically how ecological succession changes the design at the scale of the site. To explore these changes in detail, I selected five key areas to showcase five succession patterns. Image: Kunpeng Wang

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“Can recognizable forms of design offer framing devices to indicate the value of novel ecologies?” by Kunpeng Wang
Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize
Master of Landscape Architecture, The University of Melbourne

Project statement

Conventional parks require extensive maintenance and resources such as potable water, energy and labour to stay “green” and “neat.” These responses are being challenged by climate change which is making Melbourne’s climate drier and hotter. Urban ecology, particularly the self-organizing assemblages of novel ecologies that can respond to climate change, offer a paradigm shift in “greening” public space. However, the messy appearance of novel ecosystems can hinder the broader appreciation and understanding of them by the public, particularly in cities where order is preferred over chaos.

Using pattern as a design method for conveying meaning and order, this project explores the value of novel ecologies in developing a new open space for Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. The patterns are derived from the relationship between the forces that influence the site and various vegetation communities. The design’s complexity and richness come from the layered influence of wind, aspect, water and human disturbance, explored through the computational. An alternative maintenance regime of mowed paths is introduced to provide a direct indication of care and order. These design interventions allow for sophisticated speculation and the manipulation of ecological succession processes, and demonstrate alternative ways for designers to manage novel ecologies.


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