Student Project | Contemporary Intersections | Priya Bukte

‘Contemporary Intersections’ seeks to converge and cohesively integrate several complex aspects of Ngargee Park (Albert Park’s Fitzroy Street Precinct) whilst adopting a contemporary approach. These aspects include: intersecting colonial dominated St. Kilda junction with the Boon Wurrung’s culturally significant Ngargee Tree within the landscape; connecting the lively civic plaza of the park with the tranquil immersive edge; creating a transition from the highly commercialized Fitzroy Street to the serene Albert Park; and, taking into account the displacement that the site has endured in the past while emplacing present-day needs onto the site.

The inspiration for the design came from asking multiple probing questions and developing themes in response. What if the Ngargee Tree was re-established as a cultural node for the site? What if the pre-colonial swamplands were respectfully acknowledged by introducing a wetland on the site while integrating contemporary design principles adopted from the modernist landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx? The Ngargee Tree currently forms a spiritual and cultural node on the site. However, this significant node is displaced to the edge of the site and daily it has thousands of cars passing within metres of the tree’s base as commuters move along the adjoining slipway of St Kilda Junction. The design aims at re-establishing this node by cutting off the traffic from the slipway and making design gestures that direct people towards the captivating Ngargee Tree.

The civic plaza has been designed to transform a currently inactive space into a vibrant, lively space that can accommodate open-air markets, exhibitions, and places for storytelling; while the immersive side of the park offers a riveting experience through a vibrant floral garden, a native garden and an amphitheater for congregating around three magnificent existing eucalypts. All of these elements serve as a precursor in leading visitors to the site’s key focal point – the Ngargee Tree.

Student | Priya Bukte, Masters of Landscape Architecture, University of Melbourne