This commission was started in 2010, and will continue for some years. The initial work comprised of creating access to the new foyer, as well as a large patio for cafe seating, and a water feature.
As a public use area it needed to provide access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, as well as for the very young and elderly. The regular large gatherings cater for 700 or more people at a time, therefore it was imperative that the access be uncluttered and safe in case of any emergency, and that up to 700 people could be standing on a paved surface. An important consideration was the traffic configuration and drop-off zone, and the safety of young children in these areas.
One of the challenges was to overcome the 600mm drop from the floor of the foyer to the carparking and drop off area. Steps would have possibly become a hazard, and needed handrails, therefore I designed the large lawn areas to absorb the `fall’ gradually. The lawns also allow children to run and play, and act as a `spill over’ area for large crowds to stand. Eventually a low hedge will be planted along the drop off zone, to act as a barrier for young children and vehicles. The large wall adjacent to the cafe area acts as a wind break, encloses the patio, and provides a wall for the water feature.
The large serpentine rocks are locally sourced and are enjoyed as seating and as a playground by children. Flowering cherry and flowering pear trees have been planted to provide year round interest, and shade.