The University of the Sunshine Coast recognises there is potential at a number of locations on campus for smaller, simpler and less expensive design improvements which could be implemented in advance of some of the more involved design proposals detailed elsewhere in the 2012 Campus Master Plan.
These ‘early phase’ projects range widely in their purpose and scope, however they all offer the University the capacity to commence new works on campus in accordance with the broader goals of the 2012 Campus Master Plan with relative ease and immediacy.
This will enable staff, students and the broader community to see the changes proposed on paper in the planning documents find realisation through a series of new works, which despite their modest scale, offer important and lasting improvements to the campus’ built and natural environment, ensuring their full potential as places are achieved.
The following provides a brief description of each of the early phase projects involving landscape design.
University entrance forecourt
This project provides a generous shelter that reads visually as an extension to the architecture of the Innovations Centre, reaching out to the expected development of the Town Centre on the opposite side of Sippy Downs Drive. It will provide the University with a physical presence, open to and receptive of the community, on the main road at the University’s primary entrance. The design intent is to realise a comfortable, sheltered plaza space, meeting place, transport hub with bus stop and kerb indent, and an orientation and information hub. Terraced seating, and possibly a small café, with a meeting room to complement the research functions of the Innovations Centre would also be part of this project. It will further connects the Innovations Centre to the rest of the University by promoting continuous pedestrian movement from the northern extremity of the campus, through the open campus green and the colonnades of the buildings that flank it, and continuing south to the lake shore. The University entrance forecourt will have an urban, formalised character, relating to the Town Centre, while also establishing visual continuity to University Park through a complementary planting palette and materials selection.
Colonnade link between the central spine and Innovations Centre
This linear element will provide shade and wet-weather connectivity for the northern area of the campus, as well as a visual connection that bridges the currently perceived gap between the Innovations Centre and the main building axis. Architecturally, it will be designed as an iconic stand-alone element, with options to connect to another future building immediately to its east. It incorporates a formalised bio-detention swale along its length to locally treat water from the colonnade roof and future buildings. Water could be stored locally within underground tanks for reuse, or as a water source to the permanent billabong within the Entrance Quadrant (refer below).
The Entrance Quadrant will form part of the biodiversity corridor to be established in preparation for the Town Centre development. This will involve substantial areas of existing bushland and fauna habitat removed from the land immediately opposite the University to the north.
A balance of habitat and fauna movement corridor provision is therefore required to connect through the entirety of the campus, linking with Mooloolah River National Park to the south-east. Local and indigenous trees and understory plants on sculpted mounds surrounded by lawn will form the entrance quadrants landscape character. A billabong will be located within the precinct as a permanent water body to attract fauna, and as a visual feature that connects to existing vegetated swales.
A sheltered pavilion and interpretive trail will meander through the area, which will connects to a wider system of trails in the campus landscape (refer below).
Cross axis tree planting
Distinctive single species planting in formal avenues will be reinforced along the cross axes pedestrian pathways. These will form a clearly legible means by which to demonstrate way-finding and orientation by providing strong visual cues able to direct visitors from the edges of the campus through to the open campus green at its centre.
Art Gallery Courtyard and campus social hub
An upgrade and extension to the existing Art Gallery Courtyard will provide a social hub for the campus, building upon the success of the existing café in this area and the seating already being provided to the eastern sides of the courtyard.
This project will incorporate the veranda to the proposed Permanent Art Gallery and provide additional shade from advanced tree planting and structures, as well as additional seating elements
University Club Courtyard
This project will develop a sheltered courtyard garden west of the University Club, shaded by trees and shade structures with wind protection from north, and plants to help screen the nearby school. A comfortable and lively hub of social activity, it will facilitate the spill-out of functions from the club-house and improve its activation and utilisation.
As well as becoming a student gathering space for informal gathering for refreshments, organised functions and events will be able to make use of this area for performances, music, outdoor cinema and other activities. Seating and casual dining areas could also be developed in this area and encourage socialisation.
Lake Shore Precinct
The lake shore precinct will serve as a frontage helping to activate the building edges overlooking the campus lakes. A generous timber boardwalk forms the north-western edge of the lake, extending to and overhanging the water’s edge, providing a lake-front place for gathering and socialising which takes advantage of the unique environment and views.
Shade trees will line the north-western edge to the boardwalk, while a wind break should be provided, with vegetation, to the north-eastern edge. The existing shade structure should be integrated into the precinct, including an upgrade to the existing picnic and barbeque facilities.
The precinct will be unified with the grassed amphitheatre that culminates the south-eastern end of the open campus green.
The meeting place will become a part of the campus dedicated to, and developed in collaboration with, the local Kabi Kabi community. Facilitates can spill out of activities in the nearby building. This could further form one the interpretive nodes connected by the campus landscape Interpretive Trail (refer below), and incorporate locally indigenous plant species.
The project could further include distinctive visual features such as distinctive vegetation and a major artwork, visible from the adjacent parkland.
Bush Tucker Garden
This garden could be located adjacent to where there is presently a taxi rank, and be developed with the locally indigenous plant species traditionally used by the Kabi Kabi people. It could form one of the interpretive nodes connected by the campus landscape Interpretive Trail (refer below).
The Productive Garden will be a dedicated garden promoting permaculture on the campus. It will contain raised garden beds with vegetables, perennial herbs and fruiting trees. While an exact location will be determined by the University community in the future, it could be close to, and used in association with, nutrition science departments, who have a research interest in the garden.
Alternatively, it could function as a community garden for students residing in onsite accommodation, or in association with a campus café that may use some of its produce.
The Interpretive Trail connects small pavilions and shelters, and other interpretive nodes, within a broad portion of the campus landscape, with connections also provided to themed gardens closer to the central campus.
These interpretive nodes or themed gardens may relate to vegetation communities or narratives, and could be developed by or in collaboration with representatives of the Kabi Kabi community. They are intended to facilitate the provision of guided or self-guided walks across the campus and greater involvement and enjoyment of the campus by the broader regional community.
Trails are located to utilise existing access tracks wherever possible in the medium term, with additional smaller scaled meandering trails to be developed in future.
Swale establishment and rehabilitation
Existing drainage swales which have degraded are to be rehabilitated so as to improve their water cleansing function. This will further continue to develop the visual character of the swales as major elements within the landscape. Associated tree and understorey planting is established with river pebble mulch or grass ground treatment.
- 4.8.2 Entrance road: section
- Photograph A.1.1 Early phase projects, which shows a successful model of an on campus planted swale
Sheltered structures and pavilions
Rest points and interpretive nodes, with shelter from the rain and sun, will be developed along the campus landscape Interpretive Trails. They may have integrated interpretation and artworks elements, and could be developed and named in association with representatives of the Kabi Kabi community (refer above).
While architecturally designed structures, they could be visually compatible with the form and palette of materials used in the existing steel and timber shelter at Café J, but of a smaller scale.
Vegetated screens to structured parking
Buffer tree planting will form part of the cross axial program of tree planting, with climbing vegetation helping to ameliorate the visual impact of the façades of the proposed structured parking. This could utilise climbers on wire, or some other form of trellis.
Facilities Management precinct consolidation
The Facilities Management maintenance yard, the waste management yard, the recycling depot, and the nearby on grade car park are to be consolidated, with a vegetated buffer and screening provided.
Edge treatment to sports fields
Rings of shade trees should continue to be established at the perimeter of all sports fields to offer shade protection to spectators. The function of the drainage swales in these areas should simultaneously be improved.