Cicling the square

Raxworthy, Julian R. (2003) Cicling the square. Monument, April/May(54), p. 66.

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Australia is a condition: spatiality linked to a particular series of climatic trends. Landscape designers can either work with these qualities or continue to impose models of public space that, while culturally continuous with our colonial evolution, seek to apologise for rather than celebrate the uniqueness of this “sunburnt country”. The square may be the most ubiquitous means of dealing with “the urban” and “the community” in a country more interested in expansion than contraction, in claiming space for solitary ownership rather than negotiating crowded coastal existence with one’s neighbours. Somewhere between the English common and the Spanish plaza, the City Square is trying to find a bio-climatic solution to urban recreation. For Melbourne, Federation Square is iteration number three, after two attempts – first by Denton Corker Marshall, then by City of Melbourne’s Ron Jones. Federation Square is a substantial investigation into the country’s urban public space, proposing a designed engagement with the unique condition of its environment that will undoubtedly influence Australian landscape designers. In planning, the desire for urban public space stems from 19th-centry beliefs in the landscape as teh “lungs” of the city and a mechanism for social hygiene. In design terms, it arises from 1960s -70s desires to facilitate meaningful community interaction. While the park accommodates organised and formally delineated sports, exactly how one “recreates” in urban spaces has always been problematic for landscape architecture; “things” such as public art, furniture and signage are added, and substantial programs conjoined, such as transport infrastructure or circulation paths. In the face of this absence of clear landscape program, and as the space is appropriated by artists for site-specific work, the “interpretation machine” has developed as an ambiguous but important form of site use.

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ID Code: 20400
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Landscape architecture, Federation Square
ISSN: 1320-1115
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100) > Landscape Architecture (120107)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Pacific Magazines Pty Ltd
Deposited On: 10 May 2009 22:04
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2011 05:36

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