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10 of the Best Tourist Spots for Landscape Architecture in Australia

10 of the Best Tourist Spots for Landscape Architecture in Australia

Article by Sophie Thiel We take a closer look at landscape architecture in Australia that also makes for great tourist destinations.  Geographically, Australia is not only the smallest but also the most isolated inhabited continent on our planet. That isolation has conferred an enormous advantage on the region: the development of globally unique fauna and flora. Today, Australia is not only home to a wide variety of fascinating landscapes, but also to groundbreaking landscape architecture projects that are overshadowing the rest of the world. Some of these projects were already featured in Paul McAtomney’s article 10 Great Projects Showing why Australia are Leaders in Landscape Architecture. Since the mainland of Australia is a country where landscape architecture has been booming for years now, everyone – especially landscape architects — needs to visit Australia at least once to see the incomparable landscapes and solution-oriented approaches that we can all learn from for our own projects. After visiting this spectacular continent, you might even decide to settle down there, as Australia is also one of the best countries in which to work and live as a landscape architect. But first, let’s see what places we recommend you visit.

Landscape Architecture in Australia

10. Pirrama Park – Sydney, Australia, by ASPECT Studios The historic development of Pirrama Park is a prime example of a project in which residents made their will known in favor of building a public park rather than another new residential development. The community action enabled the highly promising open-space area to become a multiple award-wining project of landscape architecture. Today, Pirrama Park is one of Sydney’s major public parks on the harbor waterfront, offering a plethora of refreshing experiences while connecting visitors with the water’s edge. I strongly invite you to take a look for yourself: Enjoy a picnic or barbecue on one of the many hot summer afternoons at this park. Pirrama Park is listed as one of the top 10 major parks on “City of Sydney”, the official visitors website of Sydney. Pirrama Park in the city’s Pyrmont area also got 4½ out of 5 stars on “Yelp”, a website that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses and more.

Pirrama Park.

Pirrama Park. Photo credit: Florian Groehn

9. Centenary Square – Parramatta, Australia, by JMD Design On your way to or from Sydney, it pays to take a short break at Centenary Square in Parramatta. This plaza forms the central area of a former suburb that merged with Sydney a few decades ago. The design’s centrepiece is a state-of-the-art fountain – not only loved by children – that is illuminated at night with a colorful lighting and water display. An added design bonus: The fountain can be simply turned off to provide enough space for events such as markets, games, or concerts on the square. The mixture of fixed and mobile furniture also underlines the plaza’s adaptability to different circumstances – an aspect that is rarely used in design as beautifully as at Centenary Square.
Centenary Square

Centenary Square. Photo credit: Brett Boardman

8. The National Arboretum – Canberra, Australia, by TCL Australia’s mainland is one notable example of a country that works against the threat of extinction and habitat loss. The National Arboretum is one of the best examples of an outcome of this country’s efforts to deal with this worldwide struggle. The arboretum was built after multiple fires wreaked havoc on Australia’s unique forests in 2003. Today, it is home to 100 different forests of endangered tree species from around the world. It is a large-scale project that not only brings attention to issues of biodiversity, sustainability, and public environmental concern, but also serves as a seed bank from which endangered species are being preserved and propagated. Furthermore, the 100 forests serve as educational opportunities that allow visitors to explore and learn the special significance that plants and gardens have on the contemporary world. The National Arboretum is meant to continue to develop and grow over time. With its unlimited potential and possibilities, this seems to be a project that our great-grandchildren are also going to enjoy. The National Arboretum project was featured in Erin Tharp’s article about the Top 10 World Class Landscape Architecture Projects of 2014.
Large terraced earth sculptures form the major arrival sequence into the Arboretum. At the base, a carefully designed irrigation system directs water to the dam to redistribute back into the Arboretum. Photo credit: John Gollings

Large terraced earth sculptures form the major arrival sequence into the Arboretum. At the base, a carefully designed irrigation system directs water to the dam to redistribute back into the Arboretum. Photo credit: John Gollings

7. 717 Bourke Street Plaza – Melbourne, Australia, by ASPECT Studios It is very likely that you will find yourself at Bourke Street Plaza while visiting Melbourne. Only a short walk from the lively Federation Square, this plaza represents the gateway into Melbourne’s newly redeveloped Docklands district. The former industrial area represents one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, covering a space of nearly 200 hectares. The landscape design of Bourke Street Plaza mimics the irregular surface of the buildings on site. It incorporates many topographic changes, such as steps, ramps, raised beds, and platforms where people are invited to rest and enjoy the strong relationship between landscape architecture and architecture.
Bourke Street Plaza

Bourke Street Plaza. Photo credit: Andrew Lloyd

6. One Central Park – Sydney, Australia, by ASPECT | OCULUS Due to their unique façades, the residential buildings of One Central Park stand metaphorically at the intersection of architecture and landscape architecture. The eye-catching green façades are said to be the world’s largest en-mass vertical garden, with a total area of 1,200 square meters. Australia is one of few countries that massively promotes living architecture as a means of responding to climate change and dealing with the scarcity of water and energy. Therefore, One Central Park really hit the jackpot — and also remarkably defies early scepticism. Since the project area is located next to the central train station, with its eye-catching appearance, you will find it difficult to pass by the project without being amazed by it.
One Central Park, by ASPECT | OCULUS

One Central Park, by ASPECT | OCULUS. Photo credit: Simon Wood

5. Caulfield Campus Green at Monash University – Caulfield, Australia, by TCL You might wonder why a university campus is included in this list of top tourist destinations of landscape architecture in Australia. The fact that the design of Caulfield Campus Green proves that education can be an immersive experience and is welcoming to anyone who wants to learn will give you clarity. Whether the user is a student, a passer-by, or a tourist, any person can enter this space and be enticed to engage, discuss, and learn about the goings-on in the world. Caulfield Campus Green was designed with the idea that the grounds would become blueprints from ideas created on and within the campus area. It is woven right into the fabric of the local environment. It will pay off to visit this campus and be inspired by its detailed, colorful, and social design. If you’re loving this article don’t forget to bookmark these ones for later:

Monash University, Caulfield Campus Green, by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (T.C.L). Photo credit: Andrew Lloyd

Monash University, Caulfield Campus Green, by Taylor Cullity Lethlean (T.C.L). Photo credit: Andrew Lloyd

4. The Goods Line – Sydney, Australia, by ASPECT Studios The Goods Line — a 500-meter-long elevated park in Sydney — is one of the most famous and recent projects of the Australian landscape architecture bureau ASPECT. While the whole length is 500 metres, the recent upgrade is the northern precinct, which is at 275 metres. A lot of people will find similarities with other rail line design projects, such as New York City’s High Line. The Goods Line not only attracts tourists, but has become an important communal hub and green space for this developing part of the city. It provides a vital connection for tertiary students and other locals, and has carried the precious cargo of a thriving neighborhood since it opened in 2015. As a landscape architect, you should no longer wait to visit this modern mix of an urban elevated park and an infrastructure project. The Goods Line was also honored in Erin Tharp’s article Top 10 Landscape Architecture Projects of 2015 and is also featured at the “Best Sydney Walks” website.
The Goods Line

The Goods Line. Photo credit: Florian Groehn

3. A’beckett Urban Square – Melbourne, Australia, by Peter Elliott Pty Ltd Architecture + Urban Design and Taylor Cullity Lethlean Landscape Architecture The A’beckett Urban Square transformed a vacant space — formerly used as parking lot – into a vibrant, multi-use pop-up plaza. Through applying simple design principles, such as artwork to lighten up the environment, the square adapts it surroundings into a collaboration of ideas. Actually, the space belongs to RMIT University; however, it is accessible to the public of Melbourne until the temporary place will be redesigned again for its final use. Today, a lot of people gather on A’beckett Urban Square either to play ball games, table tennis, and more, or to watch others playing sports and to rest on one of the many wooden bench-and-deck-elements. When you are in Melbourne, go and get a feel for the vibrant plaza yourself.
A’beckett Urban Square. Above: Before image, courtesy of Peter Elliott Pty Ltd Architecture + Urban Design. Below: After image (Not at the same angle as above image) Photo credit: John Gollings

A’beckett Urban Square. Above: Before image, courtesy of Peter Elliott Pty Ltd Architecture + Urban Design. Below: After image (Not at the same angle as above image) Photo credit: John Gollings

2. The Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens – Cranbourne, Australia, by TCL In return for the 45-minute drive from the center of Melbourne, you will see one of Australia’s most remarkable landscape architecture projects in recent history. The Royal Botanic Gardens are the world’s first botanical gardens dedicated exclusively to Australian native flora. More than 25 hectares showcase the astounding diversity of 170,000 plants within 15 individually themed landscape areas. Additionally, the Exhibition Gardens are used as a tool to demonstrate to visitors how Australia’s native flora can be used in their own gardens, thus increasing the impact of the Australian Garden beyond its physical boundaries. Achieve your own didactic experience while taking a stroll around Red Sand Garden, Howson Hill, the River Walk, and many more! The Royal Botanic Gardens project was also part of Paul McAtomney’s article called Top 10 World Class Landscape Architecture Projects of 2013.
Australian-Garden

Australian garden; photo credit: John Gollings

1. Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk – in Denmark and Walpole, Western Australia, by Donaldson and Warn You won’t find the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk twice in this world! This 600-meter-long pathway is built up to 40 meters above ground, allowing visitors to walk among a grove of a nearly 500-year-old giant tingle forest. In order to treat the sensitive ecosystem with care, the construction of this Tree Top Walk in the mid-1990s was peerless. Unlike other canopy walks, the pathway in the Valley of the Giants was built without heavy machinery to minimize the impact on the fragile tingle tree roots. With this project, the designers created an educational phenomenon that attracts tourists, yet creates minimal damage and produces a large economic return to the area. Every explorer’s heart will beat faster while meandering through the forest on this spectacular sculptural element in Western Australia.
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Photo courtesy of Donaldson and Warn

Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Photo courtesy of Donaldson and Warn

– As you can see, there is a variety of different and unique landscape architecture projects in Australia from which we can all take inspiration for ourselves. Australia is indeed a country and continent that teaches us how to deal with future questions and problems of the dynamic changes that affect us worldwide. This list should remind you that wherever you go, you should seek out such landscape architecture. Keep your eyes open and have fun on your trip to Australia. Which projects do you want to visit immediately? What designs do you think are you missing from this list? Let us know in the comment section below! Go to comments Recommended Reading:

Article by Sophie Thiel

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