2050 Park Competition

A couple of months ago we entered a competition with Marco Marinozzi for future parks landscape competition at the International Festival of Landscape Architecture. Our entry explored how can the parks in 2050 shape Melbourne’s urban form and the way we will inhabit Melbourne?

Parks add life to any city – they provide environmental, aesthetic and recreational benefits. The number of people living in Melbourne is expected to jump 60 per cent from 23.3 million today to 37.6 million by 2050. This speculation has prompted us to address a particular problem; will we have to sacrifice green open space to allow for new infrastructure?

The well being of residents will become even more of an issue in 2050 than it is now. Access to green space has proven to decrease mental health issues such as a depression and anxiety. The park of the future must be a place, which provides rest and tranquility for an even faster paced lifestyle.

To address this we have designed a new pocket park typology, which occupies under utilised spaces dotted throughout any city. Our chosen site is the car park of St Paul’s Cathedral. By designing a urban park in this location, we are creating a connection to Federation Square, which is land locked by two major roads have to be crossed in order to access it – it is accessible but slightly disconnected from the rest of Melbourne’s CBD. Our urban park is surrounded by two buildings and has an existing thoroughfare through Flinders Lane. By having a park in this location, it will encourage people to walk through the small slice of nature and will create shortcuts to help navigate through the city. Another advantage of this site is that while being in the busy CBD, it is quiet because it’s a secluded spot with buildings surrounding it on three sides. Our design provides a respite from interacting with technology and focuses on connecting people with people, and people with nature for their well being.

Our typology can be replicated where there are similar site conditions – an empty car park, and under utilised Laneway.

The Design:

Melbourne has a history of using blue stone as its pavement and one of the distinguishing features of Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral is that they are made up of primarily sandstone, which contrasts the dark blue stone that surrounds it. For our structure, we have used sandstone, zinc and timber, as they are all warm materials. The city is a very hard place, and by using timber for the structure it plays off of the permanence of the buildings on either side.

From entering this competition we learnt about how to collaborate with some one who works and lives in Italy, that competitions are difficult but it teaches us to expand the way we think about architecture and design.