Department of Statistics SA & Dipalopalo
The landscape design of the proposed new campus for the Department of Statistics SA is informed by three core components. These include an outer landscape, an inner landscape and a central spine that orders the exterior environment.
The PUBLIC landscape deals with the perimeter of the campus and responds to the public realm, such as the streetscape, public square and pedestrian access.
The PRIVATE landscape deals with specialised and controlled open space within the campus and supports the function of the buildings. It provides environments for relaxation, social interaction, heritage and nature conservation as well as places of contemplation.
The central spine is a ‘ribbon’ that connects the inner and the outer landscape with the surrounding urban context. It entails a progressive movement from the Public Square, through the Campus to the Heritage Village and Salvokop Freedom Park.
The design concept is a progression of various spaces that are linked like beads on a string and that are interwoven along a central spine.
From the public interface at the Public Square in the northern corner of the site, the design flows through an Internal street with Private Courtyards towards a multi-functional Event Space that connects the new build form with the restored NZASM Heritage Court, from where it moves through a rehabilitated Bankenveld landscape that connects to the Freedom Park Museum.
Landscape Design Narrative
The landscape design is best illustrated graphically as per the sketch plan. Some core components that informed the design are as follows:
A multi-functional pedestrian space forms the gateway from the railway pedestrian bridge into the Campus as well as the Salvokop precinct. In future the public square will be further defined by future buildings along the northern edge. The space provides for hard surfacing, shade trees, seating, exhibition spaces, public art and spectator embankments. By means of appropriate street furniture, vehicular access to the public parking on the Campus is directed along the edge of the square.
Public Arrival Court
There is a seamless transition from the public square to the arrival court. Although access controlled, the arrival court forms part of the public realm as this space can facilitate large-scale events. Generous steps, high impact graphic landscaping and a cascading water feature welcomes pedestrians and visitors onto the Campus.
A weather protected Atrium street, with a leafy urban street feeling, direct visitors and employees to the various facilities within the campus. Street trees, seating, textured paving and street furniture are provided along the internal street that acts as a spine linking the public realm with the inner campus landscape.
Three east-facing courtyards, with distant city views, are accessible from the internal street. These spaces are optimally designed as small-scale pedestrian environments for social interaction, outdoor meetings and contemplation. Decking, paving, seating and vegetation are optimised to create pleasant and intimate spaces for entertainment and retreat.
NZASM Heritage Court
The landscape design at the Heritage Court aims to re-instate the original use of the court space between the unique grouping of dwellings. The social interaction between the dwellings and the well (as the central point of reference) informed the criss-cross network of pathways as is evident in the 1948 aerial photographs of the area. This pattern of use is captured in the new landscape design of the Heritage Court. Stabilised ground paths, lawns and informal clusters of Wild Olive and Karee trees will revert the space back to its authentic pattern.
The original well will be restored and will replace the plaque and water feature as well as the formal pathway system that was introduced in the 1980-renovation.
A buffer zone of indigenous trees wrap around the heritage court in order to ‘embrace’ the space and to screen the neighbouring development as far as possible.
Restored Bankenveld landscape
From the Heritage Court the space continues into the restored Bankenveld landscape and joins, by means of a pedestrian path, with the terrain of the Freedom Park Museum. This landscape will be rehabilitated from its current disturbed and invaded status, into a natural Bankenveld landscape as part of the Salvokop southern foothill slope.
The fluid design of the central spine becomes more rigid and quirky at the historical hall building where the landscape makes a transition from the urban to the natural form. An indigenous natural landscape will be established, the natural slopes restored (by means of stone gabion terraces), and a pedestrian pathway will lead to the southern point of urban connectivity at the Freedom Park Museum.