Darebin Nodes Street Furniture
“This project, whilst modest in size and budget, punches well above its weight. The jury was impressed with the perceptive skill of the architects in analysing the existing urban fabric and responding with a measurably successful outcome. The design response shows considerable sophistication, the placement of seating, planters, tables, and lighting being highly considered, resulting in a new urban space for locals where there had once been only concrete.
This project is a tangible example of the kind of spaces for people that architects can create within a tight budget when a successful combination of collaboration, clever creative exploration and social awareness are drawn upon.”
2017 Victorian Architecture Awards Jury
This is an Urban Design project in Reservoir, a northern suburb of Melbourne, that seeks to turn a busy intersection into an engaging public space.
Reservoir’s unique spirit is celebrated through references to its multicultural community via the patterned steel work.
The use of the circle as a generator for both the paving and the seats pays homage to this as the site of Melbourne’s first reservoir and the importance of backyard farming as the foundation for this suburb.
For the successful integration of this node into the daily life of the street we developed a conceptual framework that revolved around key aspects of the suburbs history and people.
Reservoir’s unique spirit is celebrated through references to its multicultural community by including patterns derived from the five prominent ethnic groups, these were used in the banding of the seats which fosters a sense of ownership of the public space and has enabled a swift uptake and use by the community.
The use of the circle as inspiration for both the paving and the seats pays homage to this as the site of Melbourne’s first reservoir and the importance of backyard farming as a foundation for this suburb.
The central theme of water is interpreted through paving as a strong pattern of circles within circles this is continued with the circular seats which are playful and inviting to a broad range of weary pedestrians. These nodes give civic pride to the local community and provide for a range of utility from parking your bike to offloading your shopping while chatting.
The seats are both ergonomic and efficient, enabling a variety of interaction. We observed elder pedestrians needing a rest whilst walking with their shopping so provided the concrete plinth adjoining the seat to easily place and retrieve bags without bending. We designed a two person/friend seat and a larger three person seat with enough personal space for strangers to be comfortable. The cut out around the seats is not only a community tie, it is also a light source at night. The seats have been adopted as the Reservoir street seat and used in various other locations within the suburb.
We worked closely with the Public Realm department of Darebin City Council to enable enough space for a vegetation corridor. It was decided to keep the planting area as a natural barricade to the street in the Edwards street node which being to the north will provide natural shade to this area.
For the design and construction of the seating elements, bollards and bike racks we worked closely with the manufacturer to ensure that the construction process was smooth and efficient. The resulting product is robust, serviceable and well used. For maintenance free paving with dynamic contrast we used concrete and asphalt. These urban nodes celebrate the foundation of the suburb and its current multicultural mix whilst providing a joyful utilitarian space.
- Darebin Nodes was awarded a commendation in the 2017 Victorian Architecture Awards, Urban Design Category