Wootten Road Reserve Interpretation Space
2017 National Award of Excellence - Parks and Open Spaces
2017 Victoria Award of Excellence - Parks and Open Spaces
Wootten Road Reserve Interpretation Space on the outskirts of Melbourne, is inspired with its immersive design and response to the local ecology and history. GLAS Landscape Architects have created a magnetic and poetic series of spaces that draw inspiration from the former settlers’ homestead on the site while celebrating the local basalt grassland ecology of the region creating a place for all.
The adjacent local area comprises suburban development and sports fields. This project juxtaposes this experience with a window into what was once here, creating pathways and interpretive play areas for visitors to uncover and immerse themselves in. By combining active play within the restored grasslands and references to the homestead, visitors discover their local heritage, better understand their local ecology and create a new focus for the community. This project was designed and built to the highest quality, creating a benchmark for healthy and diverse natural and built landscapes, ecological restoration and park projects.
Inspired by the memory of the lost homestead and grassland, the design seeks to rebuild these landscapes as an experience which integrates ecology and play. It seeks to increase understanding of the native grassland and also of the homestead garden to provide a window into the beauty of the natural landscape and also a sense of the pioneers living on the edge of the grassland. Undulating pathways weave through the site providing a variety of viewpoints in, on and above the grasses. By being up close to the grassland, the diversity and richness can be better understood. Within the homestead garden, the new exotic planting complements the existing exotic trees, using species common in the Victorian era (but only sterile varieties) to create a pioneer garden that recreates the settlers need for an alien but familiar landscape. The contrast between the exotic, shady, enclosed landscape and the open, expansive, native grassland re-enforces the life of the pioneer on the edge of two worlds, between the familiar of the home and the adventure of the new surroundings.