The Centennial Place Verge upgrades resolve a missing link to PLACE Laboratory’s works in the Midland area. It connects directly to the new Curtin University’s Midland campus and rejuvenates a street that required new landscape works which will tie into the landscape treatments of the campus. Throughout the Midland works, there has been a strong design reference to the historical significance of the workshops and the rail links that once were in use in the area. At each site you’ll find new steel rails that lay in the same alignments and even connect to the existing heritage rails. Centennial Place is no different, with the workshops directly facing on to the verge and even rail links being spotted coming through the workshop doors. The circular sweeping design language is informed by elements found on the workshops such as the windows, as well as materiality continuation for the Campus.
This small streetscape upgrade works were not without its challenges as discovered un-surveyed services and extremely hard sub surfaces caused a change in how the design was delivered. There were optic lines discovered within 200mm of the surface and layers of asphalt and concrete, remnants of the past, discovered within 400mm. The delicate services that serviced the police station, offices and university, meant that hardly any excavation works could be undertaken. This limitation flowed through to no irrigation works, new planting and edging being able to be installed.
The design methodology changed directions to represent the original concept through laid gravels and hard materials like basalt, polished river pebbles and mulches. The result is a very clean ground plane that responds to the surrounding design narratives and celebrates the beautiful existing Plane trees that provide an amazing canopy. The contractors, Landscape Elements, did an amazing job being able to install the interpretive rail with a difficult sub-grade and these elements tie the site together completely.
Working closing with DevelopmentWA and the City of Swan, we wanted to deter the current behaviour of users parking on the verge, damaging the trees and the newly installed works. So instead of the usual strategy of bollards, we sourced large laterite boulders and placed them in specific locations to stop parking without intruding on the design. The boulders are also positioned to become informal seating spots for the medical students to take a break or meet with their friends after class.
The close working relationship with Landscape Elements was critical in quickly resolving the on-site issues with a great workaround and a project delivered quickly and in-budget.