Professors from the University of Sheffield to transform Melbourne Arts Precinct

Professors Nigel Dunnett, winner at the Pro Landscaper Podium Awards, and James Hitchmough from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture have been appointed planting designers for Melbourne’s new arts precinct project. They will create cutting-edge, minimal water-use plantings in 18,000 square metres of renewed public space in the heart of Melbourne.
They will work in collaboration with international design practice HASSELL and New York-based design firm SO-IL.
The team will create an elevated park, gardens and pedestrian spaces in the Southbank area.
Professor Dunnett said:
“The exciting aspect of the Melbourne project is that it was won largely on the basis of the planting design content. It was the distinctive element in the proposals compared to others in the competition.
“The concept of filling the site with dramatic, diverse, sustainable and beautiful planting, and then carving out spaces for human use within this planted matrix, was a hugely compelling one.
“In particular it captured the imagination of the artists, cultural organisations, and art foundations involved. It’s a reflection of something that is becoming increasingly obvious: that planting design, and the associated creation of healthy urban environments, is now taking centre-stage in major international landscape projects.”
The plantings will be designed to provide a succession of seasonal, month-by-month highlights that will mirror the changing art shows within the National Gallery of Victoria. An estimated 10,000 new jobs will be created during the regeneration project. Once complete, the arts precinct is expected to draw an additional three million people to the area each year.
Professor Hitchmough said:
“The Melbourne Arts Precinct is another major project in which planting is seen as one of the key issues in making rich and exciting public space. It is a great coup for the department to have its staff playing major roles in such world-leading projects.”
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