Taking out two honours at this year’s LV Industry Awards, PTA Landscapes’ Clayton Campus project puts higher learning front and centre as 'Landscape of the Year'.
The largest of Monash University’s eight campuses, the Clayton Campus is a well-established site with a lively student cohort. Sitting at the centre of the campus a large greenspace known as The Forum offers a gathering place for rest, relaxation and campus events.
Established in the late 1950s, The Forum had become rundown over time and was in need of a refresh. A design competition netted Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) and Peter Elliott Architecture & Urban Design as the winners of the design that would revitalise the space; with PTA Landscapes contracted as the expert contractors to bring that vision to life.
Starting with a removal process, clearing out old landscaping and hardscaped elements that no longer served a purpose or intruded into the space, The Forum was re-established as an open space that would provide a clean thoroughfare to the surrounding buildings and across campus.
Forming the centrepiece of the rejuvenated Forum is a grand sunken lawn, intersected by pathways and bridges with unique precast formations that give the area a distinctive identity. Bordered by a new softscape predominately laden with native plants, the lush planting softens the feel of the area and encourages students and faculty to utilise the space.
Improving the pond element already in existence, a naturally-filtered water feature containing a reed bed for biofiltration and showcasing native grasses was created. A large adjacent deck forms a platform for tables and chairs that give users a great view of the jets creating movement in the new water feature, making it a relaxing space to study and eat.
Working over a 23-month period, PTA Landscapes worked in stages to complete the $6.7 million project. Challenges faced during construction include redesigns and adjustments in order to resolve conflicts with latent inground site conditions, a heritage overlay that needed to be strictly adhered to, and soils containing asbestos requiring remediation.
A major undertaking on the project was the installation of a massive 360,000 litre underground rainwater tank, which is being used to harvest stormwater from the surrounding buildings and repurposed for landscape irrigation.
Now a memorable backdrop for graduation ceremonies and campus events, the revitalised greenspace has once again made The Forum the active centre of the campus.
For its excellent work on The Forum project, PTA Landscapes was awarded Landscape of The Year (Commercial) and Commercial Landscape Construction Over $1 million at the 2019 Landscaping Victoria Industry Awards.
"Displaying all the criteria required to earn full marks for ‘wow’ factor, The Forum project at Monash University owns the space, engages the viewer and provides a memorable first impression upon entering. It is evident from the quality of the build that this is an outstanding landscape. The project had a high level of difficulty and presented many challenges but the team at PTA Landscapes, with the support of excellent documentation and the highest standards in project management, have delivered an outstanding result earning them the title of Commercial Landscape of the Year." – Judges’ comments.