As part of the preparation of a Landscape Masterplan for Footscray North Primary School, Urban Initiatives identified a corridor of land at the northern edge of the school that was under-utilised and a little unloved. Following the completion of a school Masterplan, Urban Initiatives was engaged by the principal of the school to develop a design for this key area.
Located between the canteen and library, the design included the renovation of red-brick courtyards that were developed in the 1980s, and several adjoining spaces. Upgrading and integrating the existing paved spaces while working within the limits of available funds was an interesting challenge and involved some judicious decision making around what elements to retain, what to upgrade, and how to work with as much of the existing landscape as possible to have the greatest impact.
The existing area was spatially quite effective, although much of the brickwork was damaged and the planting was in a poor state. Even though the space was well oriented to the north, it still felt a little ‘back-of-house’ and the project endeavoured to better link it to neighbouring spaces and to provide greater spatial definition and ‘invitation-to-use’ so that it would hopefully become more inviting, comfortable and popular.
In the design a bespoke pergola provides dappled shade for this north-facing area while integrating the old and new features of the space. Custom-made seats and tables were ‘applied’ over the degraded brickwork and provide a little more comfort and diversity within the space in the form of materials, textures, functions and spaces, as well as offering varied seating opportunities to allow students to socialise. These new timber furniture elements assisted in transforming the old space and providing a visual and material connection with the new works. New pathways, nature play opportunities and sandpits are also features of the landscape environment.
The new landscape was well received by the school and has led to the space being used more frequently for both play and outdoor learning.
Footscray North Primary School