Victoria Park Lake is the Shepparton region’s primary passive open space. The new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is the biggest investment the park has seen and aims to heal the scar created by poorly located infrastructure at the key arrival point from Melbourne. The SAM site marks the transition between two juxtaposing landscapes on site: the indigenous, western natural Red Gum forest of the Goulburn River flood plain; and the eastern, Wyndham Street edge, manicured exotic park with open lake views.

Urban Initiatives used each face of the building as an opportunity for new landscape expression. From the west, the contemporary building appears to have been dropped into a natural bushland setting containing an Aboriginal garden and gathering area, with a fire pit and useful and medicinal plants selected by the local Aboriginal community in consultation with Urban Initiatives. On the north side, a constructed ‘Art Hill’ conceals the functional loading dock below and connects the gallery café to the park landscape. An elevated outdoor terrace leads to a grassed slope with open views of the lake, park and bushland beyond. The steep slopes are planted with indigenous species. The eastern frontage provides a paved plaza and formal entry to the building and the south side incorporates visitor parking and a drop-off zone, with an ephemeral landscape including wet areas planted with plants from the flood plain.

Popular lake-edge pathways are enriched with new activities, provide shelter from traffic noise, and create new garden experiences for expanded public use with lawns, gardens, shelters and furniture. All mature Red Gums were preserved, while inconsistent and unhealthy trees were replaced with native and indigenous trees that enhance the landscape character, increase shade and improve the overall health of the local ecosystems.

  • Location

    Shepparton, Victoria

  • Role

    Landscape Architect

  • Client

    Greater Shepparton City Council

  • Construction Budget


  • Collaboration

    DCM Architects

  • Traditional Owners

    Yorta Yorta People

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