4.6 Landscape precincts | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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4.6 Landscape precincts

The 2012 Campus Master Plan identifies five principal landscape precincts within the overall campus.

While each landscape precinct has a distinct character, it also contributes to the overall integrity of the holistic natural systems occurring both in and beyond the campus boundaries.

The five landscape precincts are: Campus Entry, Central Spine, Academic Periphery, Sports and the Lake Shore.


Campus entry

Commencing along Sippy Downs Drive, the main entry to the campus begins within a plaza to the north of the Innovations Centre, establishing a distinctive and memorable point of arrival to the University. From here, the main entry road takes a sinuous line to the south-east, at the western fringe of the proposed University Park, before entering the main semi-circular road which directs vehicles to either side of the main campus area.

University Park extends to both the north east and south-west sides of the entrance road. The University Park seeks to become a space utilised by people in the Town Centre as much as by the University community, providing a public open area shared between the academic community and the more urbanised environment developing to the north of the campus.

The park thus becomes a key element in the University’s goal of integrating its physical infrastructure with the civic character of the proposed Town Centre, creating a ‘blurred edge', encouraging and facilitating movement across Sippy Downs Drive and providing shared pedestrian and recreation amenities for both the Town Centre and University communities.

The entrance road to the University offers excellent views along the open campus green and across the Entrance Lawn, which extends the open campus green towards the north-west, framed by a proposed colonnaded walkway forming part of a proposed building complex to the south, and the edge of the revegetated quadrant surrounding the proposed new research buildings to the north.

The ground plane of north quadrant defined by the semi-circular road consists of undulating planted mounds and a permanent billabong.

A loose avenue of tall Eucalypts will be located on the central median of the main entry road and along the outer edge of the semi-circular road. The Entrance Lawn is irrigated and dotted with groups of large eucalypts along its length.

The north quadrant has informal copses of open woodland trees and understorey planting on mounds surrounded by dry grassland.

Areas on the outer side of the roads are open woodland with native trees over generally dry grassland.

The planting of informal lines of Eucalypt in the open campus green extends across the Entrance Lawn to the entry road.

A bitumen path shared between cyclists and pedestrians provides safe access along both sides of the main entry road and around the outer and inner edges of the semi-circular road. Swales to the outer and inner edges of the semi-circular road separate the shared use path from the vehicle carriageway. The semi-circular road leads to the main campus buildings and the adjacent schools. Bitumen paths of a generous three metre width line the open campus green; these are extended across the Entrance Lawn to link with the main entry road.

A high level of lighting illuminates the University entrance sign, the Innovations Centre, the entrance roads, shared use paths, Entrance Lawn and paths leading into the open campus green. No lighting is required in the north quadrant or the adjacent open woodland.

Way finding signage directs visitors to the main campus, sports precinct and other destinations. Amenities such as seating are provided adjacent to the Innovations Centre and within the University Park, as well as along the proposed pathways. University Park also contains a shelter structure with additional seating, and with picnic and barbecue facilities.

The axis of the open campus green flows into the Entrance Lawn with its southern edge lined by a formalised Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) bio-retention system to treat stormwater run-off from the adjacent buildings.

The billabong within the north quadrant will become a permanent water feature. The primacy of the view into the heart of the campus is retained.


Open campus green

The open campus green is the principal organising element within the campus, providing the University with a powerful spatial identity. It extends from the entrance road to the western lake, flanked on each side by six large academic buildings. While forming a strong rectilinear element, the space changes character along its length in response to variations in levels of activity, responding to the functions of adjacent buildings.

The landscape design of this formal, spatial organisation similarly varies, changing from a formal partially paved square in Grid Section 1, to raised grass with a central path in Grid Section 2, to a high activity node with a mix of grass and paving in Grid Section 3, to open grassed space with a central path in Grid Section 4, to a paved and grass square in Grid Section 5, to another open grassed space with a central path in Grid Section 6, leading to the open grass amphitheatre overlooking the lake shore.

Tall Eucalypts in loose groupings will line each side of the open campus green.

Colonnades in the buildings either side are paved with red brick, as are cross paths within each grid section.

Cross link paths between the buildings are in-situ concrete.

Special paving such as sandblasted in-situ concrete or pavers are utilised at points of high activity such as adjacent the library.

Bollard and post lights flank the central and cross link pathways. Colonnades are lit from building mounted lights. The lake shore is lit with four metre high pole lights. Feature lighting provides further highlights to the facades of buildings abutting the spine.

Generally in-situ concrete seat walls provide places for pedestrians to rest. In high use areas these seats are topped with timber slats.

In areas of special importance along the spine, such as adjacent the Chancery and Library, under-planting is utilised to add detail and spatial definition to paved plazas or lawns.


Academic periphery

The Academic Periphery comprises landscaped areas surrounding and leading beyond the academic buildings which are located immediately behind the buildings which front the open campus green.

It is characterised by car parks and open areas which extend out from the buildings to the main perimeter entrance road.

In this landscape precinct, tall trees provide shade and allow clear views beneath. Within open areas, trees are grouped and read as an extension of the adjacent parkland landscape. Cross link paths are defined by medium height evergreen shade trees of distinctive foliage, colour and shape.

The water corridor which traverses the north side of the core campus area is lined with a limited palette of riparian species, highlighting this important element in the campus landscape.

Casual bench seats are located beneath groups of shade trees in the open areas. Way finding signage directs visitors to core buildings.

Service buildings are screened from view by appropriate planting. The water corridor to the north of the core area of buildings forms a pond adjacent to the Facilities Management Building, which is both a local feature within the landscape and a means by which pollution and sediment is filtered from stormwater.



The Sports Precinct runs along the northern boundary of the site and encompasses the sports fields and landscaping elements which surround the sporting facilities. The precinct forms an intermediary landscape between the bushland zone to the south and the sparsely landscaped areas of the high school and Town Centre to the north.

Generally the sports fields and buildings in this precinct are set within a parkland landscape of tall native trees over irrigated or dry grassland. Some intense low shrub or native grass plantings occur adjacent buildings to highlight entries and define outdoor spaces. Native trees offering generous shade are to encircle each of the sports fields.

Paving is generally bitumen or in-situ concrete in keeping with the low key and informal character of the precinct.

Lighting in this precinct is generally confined to car parks, building entrances, and the major pedestrian paths leading to the academic buildings further to the west of the campus, and the north-south path linking Chancellor College Middle Campus to Chancellor Park.

Apart from formal spectator seating, there is little furniture required in this zone. Way finding signage identifies major pedestrian pathways and directs visitors to the various sports fields and buildings.

The character of the landscape and the location of connecting pathways should provide a strong sense of interconnectivity between this precinct and the central academic zone of buildings further to the west.


Lake shore

The area between the southernmost of the campus buildings flanking the open campus green and the shore of the westernmost campus lake will become a major public space for the University community.

The precinct encompasses the lakeside boardwalk edging the northern shore of the lake, the grassed amphitheatre at the southern end of the open campus green, and a water garden.

Planting in this precinct will generally consist of tall Eucalypt open woodland over irrigated grass. An avenue of evergreen shade trees will line the lakeside promenade, while planting to the northwest of the shelter will provide wind protection.

The proposed Water Garden has a variety of riparian and wetland species including trees, shrubs, grasses and sedges. The line of Eucalypt trees in the open campus green will extend south-east to the lake shore promenade.

The colonnade paths from the open campus green extend to the lakeside promenade, surfaced in bitumen. The lakeside boardwalk will have a generous five metre width, creating a formal edge to this part of the lake shore.

The lakeside boardwalk is illuminated by four metre high pole lights. Paths leading in to the open campus green are illuminated by bollard lighting. Feature lighting is incorporated into the lake edge and boardwalk to create a highlight at the termination of the campus’ main building axis.

Seating is provided along the lakeside promenade, surrounding parkland and boardwalk. This should be purpose designed as an integral element within the overall lakeside treatment.

The amphitheatre is a sloping grassed or terraced space formed by earth mounding and reinforced by perimeter tree planting. The open grassed area south of the open campus green is a suitable location for major sculptural works which could be viewed against the backdrop of the lake and adjacent buildings.