4.7 Landscape destinations | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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4.7 Landscape destinations

Within the campus landscape there are a number of locations where the level of amenity provided is increased in order to facilitate a range of activities not otherwise possible. These places are mainly concentrated as hubs of activity through the central campus.

However, several are also located within the Parkland and Bushland Zones, which act as a counterpoint to their otherwise informal character within the broader landscape.


University entrance forecourt

The forecourt to the university is shaded by a generous structure that reads visually as an extension to the architecture of Innovation House, reaching out to the expected development of the Town Centre to the opposite side of Sippy Downs Drive, and providing the University with a physical presence to the community on the main road. A comfortable, sheltered plaza space, a meeting place, transport hub (including bus stop and kerb indent), orientation and information hub.

Terraced seating and a small café make use of the existing slope down from Sippy Downs Drive to the Innovations Centre. A meeting room complements the research functions of the Innovations Centre.

The forecourt connects Innovation House to the rest of the University by promoting pedestrian connection to the Central Spine colonnade that begins at the Innovations Centre and continues south to the lake shore. It has an urban, formalised character, relating to the Town Centre while also establishing visual continuity to University Park through the use of a complementary planting and materials palette.

University Park

Based around existing copses of predominantly eucalypt trees this park is the primary landscape link between the University campus and the Sippy Downs Town Centre.

Located adjacent the University entrance, the park is also a significant component of the entry experience to the campus. The character of the park is closely associated with the open woodland parkland landscape of the campus.

However, the level of amenity is higher in order to provide for a broad range of passive recreational activities. Seating, barbeques, a shelter structure, paths, under planting and irrigated grass allow University and Town Centre workers, students and residents to gain a relatively peaceful respite from the more built-up surrounding areas.

Entrance quadrant

The Entrance Quadrant provides ecosystem services as part of the biodiversity corridor to be established in preparation for the Town Centre development, which will see substantial areas of existing bushland and fauna habitat removed.

The biodiversity corridor runs through the campus to south-east to connect with Mooloolah River National Park. In the Entrance Quadrant, informal copses of locally indigenous trees and understory plants are planted on interweaving sculpted mounds surrounded by dry-land grass.

The mounded precinct provides a counterpoint and assists in framing the entrance lawn and the open campus green from the main entrance. A billabong is located within the precinct as a permanent water body to attract fauna, and as a visual feature that connects to existing vegetated swales.

A shelter/pavilion and informal paths, including a portion of the Interpretive Trail meanders through the precinct (refer below).

Campus Centre

The Campus Centre will become a significant part of the campus due to its location and likely intensity of use. It is both an intellectual, cultural and social focus for the campus, related to the functions of framing buildings, including the Library, Chancellery, Art Gallery and a range of eateries.

It is foreseen that as the campus population continues to grow, activity within the Campus Centre will also intensify, creating a lively centre that will require additional facilities such as: retail and cafes, wet weather connections between the north-east and south-west colonnades of the Central Spine, additional shade from trees and structures, and additional seating.

The buildings surrounding both the Art Gallery Courtyard and Brasserie Courtyard provide much appreciated wind protection on what is still a largely exposed campus site.

An upgrade and extension to the existing Art Gallery Courtyard would assist in the development of this Campus Hub, building upon the lively existing café and well-used seating provided to the eastern sides of the courtyard. The Art Gallery Courtyard incorporates the proposed veranda to the Permanent Collection Art Gallery which provides additional shade from advanced tree planting and/or shade structures, and additional purpose-designed seating elements.

The smaller paved areas of the Brasserie Courtyard with movable tables and chairs under the shade of established trees currently sees far higher use than the lawn area which currently dominates the space. Therefore, an extension to paved areas, especially adjacent the active Brasserie edge and provision of additional shade cover is proposed for this courtyard.

University Club courtyard

The University Club Courtyard provides a comfortable and lively focus of social activity, facilitating the spill out of functions and increased activation of the existing clubhouse. A sheltered courtyard garden paved in part and shaded by trees and structures with wind protection from north. It provides students with space for informal gatherings for refreshments, as well as organised functions and events such as performances, music, and outdoor cinema.

Ample seating is provided with casual dining areas designed to encourage socialisation. Screening is provided from the adjacent school to the north with vegetation or screen structures.

Meeting Place

The Meeting Place is dedicated to and to be developed in collaboration with the Kabi Kabi community. It is a place to gather on a day-to-day basis, as well as for special events, and to facilitate the overflow of activities from the adjacent buildings.

The garden potentially forms one the interpretive nodes connected by the Interpretive Trail, incorporating locally indigenous plant species, and distinguishing visual features such as distinctive trees and/or a major artwork visible from the adjacent Linear Park.

Bush Tucker Garden

Located adjacent the Taxi rank the Bush Tucker Garden showcases locally indigenous plant species used traditionally by the Kabi Kabi people. The Bush Tucker Garden potentially forms one the key interpretive nodes as part of the Interpretive Trail.

Other gardens framed by central campus buildings

As buildings continue to develop on campus, habitable gardens are also established, framed by these buildings.

These gardens potentially offer shelter from sun, wind and rain, utilising building canopies and verandas to provide intermediate spaces at a human scale for the associated activities from the indoors to flow out to.

These gardens develop their own character or theme, of course based on the needs of the adjacent building users, but some may also develop a particular locally indigenous vegetation community or narrative to be explored and to form an interpretive node experienced as part of the Interpretive Trail.

Examples of garden themes to be developed further are: the productive garden, bush tucker garden.

Lake Shore Precinct

The frontage to the active building edges overlooking the lake with a generous timber boardwalk that forms the north-western edge to the lake, extending to and overhanging the water’s edge. This provides a lake-front place for gathering and socialising which takes advantage of the generous lake views.

Shade trees line the north western edge to the boardwalk and a wind break is provided with vegetation to the north-eastern edge. The existing shade structure is integrated into the precinct including an upgrade to the existing picnic and barbeque facilities.

The precinct integrates with the grassed amphitheatre that culminates the south-eastern end of the Central Spine.

Lakeside Amphitheatre

This amphitheatre terminates the view along the south-eastern end of the open campus green providing the transition in levels from above the underground car park down to the lake. This end of the open campus green is sculpted to form a series of generous grass terraces.

An arc of trees defines the edge of the sloping grass to form an amphitheatre suitable for performances and large events.

Informal uses would include ball games and resting on the grass overlooking the lake and activities on the boardwalk.

Lakeside Lookout

Located on the south-eastern side of the upper lake this area provides a rest spot and focal point along the main north-south path between the high school and Chancellor's Park. Seating, a boardwalk on the lake’s edge and a barbeque encourages students, staff and the local community to enjoy the view across the lake to the main campus and its central spine.

Water Garden

Located adjacent the inlet to the upper lake system the water garden provides a quiet contemplative place within the campus landscape. Permanent ponds house a variety of riparian and water plants beneath a canopy of shade trees. Paths, seating and a small shelter facilitate strolling and enjoyment of both the water bodies and their associated plants.

Woodland Garden

Located on the lower lake, the Woodland Garden provides a place of respite within the Bushland Zone. This garden showcases a range of plants from the Sunshine Coast region, focussing on rare, endangered and threatened species. Seating, minor paths and a barbecue provide visitors with an opportunity to rest within the garden.

Plant species within the garden are labelled and the theme of the garden is interpreted with appropriately designed signage. This garden could be the site for a sculpture which complements its conservation theme.

Pavilions and shelters

A path from the lower lake winds through the Bushland Zone to a number of pavilions that offer much-needed shelter from sun and rain, and provide opportunities for research, outdoor teaching and contemplation. The pavilions have the potential to function as rest points and interpretive nodes connected by the Interpretive Trail of pedestrian paths to a series of other themed gardens within the campus. These interpretive nodes or themed gardens may relate to vegetation communities or narratives to be developed by or in collaboration with the Kabi Kabi community.

Designed as environmentally sensitive structures which sit lightly within the bushland, the pavilions would be managed to ensure all security and public safety requirements are satisfied while facilitating an appreciation of the ecological complexity and beauty of the environment indigenous to the campus.

Interpretive Trail

The Interpretive Trail connects interpretive nodes such as the shelters and pavilions within the broader landscape, with connections also provided to themed gardens, historical and culturally significant elements and artworks within the central campus.

The Interpretive Trail may have a focus on particular plant communities or particular narratives of relevance to local traditional and modern Kabi Kabi culture. Opportunities exist to name the interpretive nodes, including the themed gardens or pavilions with Kabi Kabi names if appropriate in further consultation with the local Kabi Kabi community.

The Trail facilitates the provision of guided or self-guided walks across the campus and greater involvement/enjoyment of the campus by the broader community. A hierarchy of interpretive signage is provided which is integrated into structures where possible.

Where located in the broader Bushland or Parkland zones, the trails are located to utilise existing access tracks where possible in the medium term, with additional alternate, meandering, smaller scaled trails to be developed in the future.

Gardens for the residential quarters

These gardens in particular facilitate students who live and study on campus, providing an outdoor environment to inhabit on a day to day basis that provide comfortable areas for individuals and small groups to gather, to study and to socialise. These gardens have a sense of human scale and instil a sense of ownership from the residing students.

Students may be involved in the maintenance of these gardens, such as a productive community garden, which would encourage collaboration and interaction, while also producing food that may be shared with others.

Sports Precinct Courtyard

A flexible ceremonial courtyard is provided in relation to the functions of the Sports Precinct. This courtyard is used for the gathering of university and community groups for sporting events, ceremonies or other functions. A shelter or building structure may form the northern edge to the site, fronting onto the courtyard which overlooks the lake.

The built forms assist in defining the courtyard and may house associated facilities required to host sporting events, such as barbecues or a kiosk for informal functions or a dedicated function room, which could be used informally as an additional teaching space related to the sports precinct, or hired out for community functions.

The courtyard has timber decking at the lake’s edge, shade trees and wind protection from the northern edge.