For two years WAX Design worked collaboratively with the local community, Council and creative partners to deliver the Willunga Mainstreet Project. The design approach focused on listening, innovating and creating design solutions that used local narratives and stories to capture the town’s natural history, settlement past and contemporary future.
New slate gutters and rain gardens reflect the creeks that carved into the escarpment of Willunga. The slate paving and layout of the Mainstreet used the measurements of the Gunter Chain, a traditional survey device, which was instrumental in the enclosure and settlement of South Australia. New gardens were designed using a zig-zag crown-like shape, a whimsical nod to the King of the Mountain status that Willunga Hill has for cyclists around the world.
We instigated a progressive regeneration of the public realm that slowed traffic, delivered new paving, landscape treatments and public areas, as well as added layers of cultural interpretation to reposition the High Street of Willunga as a destination, rather than a thoroughfare. We increased footpath width added new street furniture and reduced clutter. Parklets increased opportunities for outdoor dining, seating and socialising.
Stormwater issues and the unique ten percent gradient of High Street were dealt with by using open slate gutters, rain gardens and tree pits that reduce the velocity of water flowing down the street, while passively irrigating new and existing street trees. Finally, we improved pedestrian connections at intersections and critical locations, reducing pedestrian and vehicular conflicts.
We used materials and tradespeople from a 50km radius of the township to establish significant social, environmental and economic sustainability while reducing the carbon footprint of the project. We adopted a principle of repair throughout the project, only replacing assets that had reached the end of their life. New kerbing was intertwined with old, constructed by hand, and lightly exposed to match the existing kerbing. Old slate paving was recycled to create new urban elements.
The transformation has been significant. The various design elements collectively create a richly layered public realm, embedded with history, influenced by the community, contextual and yet contemporary.
Willunga Mainstreet Project
Landscape Architect | Wax Design
Collaborators | Mulloway Studio, SMEC, Lucid Consulting Aust, Infraplan, Design Flow, Lucas Robins, Westly Tully, Jason Balmer, National H Trust
Image Credits | Dan Schultz – Sweet Lime Photo