Giving new meaning to support infrastructure, this public space project has a sleek and sophisticated look thanks to the innovations of ACO.

Designed to transform Mends Street in South Perth, the new Connect South visitor hub provides improved transport links and public open space for locals and visitors alike. Located between Mill Point Road and South Perth Esplanade, Mindeerup Piazza, as it is known, sits on the Swan River foreshore, offering stunning water views and clear vistas of the city skyline to those passing through.

A traditional Noongar name meaning “place of the shore”, Mindeerup acknowledges the Noongar culture and heritage of the area. Serving as gateway for the region, the pedestrian-friendly spaces feature amenities for public use such as abundant bench seating, shaded tables and chairs, greenspace, and a playspace for adventuring tykes. Set up as an events and performance space for city festivals and performances, the piazza also boasts feature lighting and wayfinding signage. But what truly makes it an iconic location is the giant numbat!

Providing a central transport link to Perth Zoo and greater access to other world-class recreation and tourism facilities the region has to offer, the designers of the space, PLACE Laboratory, wanted an iconic sculpture to serve as a landmark for the area — serving both a functional and aesthetic purpose for the space.

A six tonne, brightly-hued metal numbat sculpture designed by a local artist was chosen to mark the spot. Doubling as a canopy that provides shelter in inclement weather, the numbat — a marsupial native to Western Australia — is a visual feast on the horizon and a handy rain shelter.

“PLACE Laboratory curated a narrative of interwoven local stories, using them as a design device with which to order the design character of the piazza,” PLACE stated.

“The paving design for Mindeerup Piazza played a vital role in creating a strong place identity and imperative to wayfinding. The unique abstracted snakeskin paving pattern design relates to the “animal parade” concept which extends the Perth Zoo experience through to the foreshore. The nature of the high-quality paving also created a highly walkable environment that could withstand heavy foot traffic,” it added.

Part of a federal plan to develop the foreshore, at a cost of over $7.5 million, the Mends Street project was key in the overall scheme. “The project is focused on improving public amenity through place activation, wayfinding, access to transport and greater economic opportunity,” stated Mayor Sue Doherty.

“It establishes a strong connect between the South Perth Foreshore and Mends Street, creating a gateway to South Perth and the Perth Zoo, improving the pedestrian experience and reinforcing the links between South Perth, Elizabeth Quay and the Perth CBD.”

An example of the government’s investment in priority infrastructure projects, the precinct delivers social and economic benefits to local communities, making it an important project for the city. As part of any scheme of this scope, highly-functioning civil infrastructure is a must.  

That’s where ACO comes in. As specialists in urban utilities for external cable and water management, ACO supply high-quality access covers and trench drains that enable maintenance with minimal surface interference, including options that complement all pavement finishes. These urban elements were specified for the unique way they both physically and visually interacted within the urban environment.

In order to provide the necessary cable enclosures for lighting, communications and security infrastructure, ACO supplied Rhinocast® access covers with Cablemate® cable pits, to  administer the functionality needed to keep the space connected and blend with the pavement finishes.

The Rhinocast® iron access covers with decorative edging allow pavers to be installed in a seamless finish with the adjacent pavement. Therefore, the uniform aesthetic of the final product met the designers’ brief that the new pits “not be an eyesore on the pavements”, while also being strong enough to support maintenance and emergency vehicles without damage.

Access covers are critical elements that give access to essential service infrastructure — stormwater, sewer, gas, electrical and communications. These services can be routed through various pavement types, and while not always considered by the public, are nonetheless imperative to the success of any public space scheme. An unbroken pavement not only provides a trip-hazard-free surface for pedestrians — and numbats — but also makes maintenance and repairs safely accessible for city workers.


Engineering Technology Consultants
Location Mends Street, South Perth
Developer City of South Perth
Civil Contractor Denmac
Access Covers & Cable Pits ACO Pty Ltd

ACO Pty Ltd
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