What was previously a barren and deserted courtyard with a lack of identity or amenity has been reimagined. Drawing on its surrounds and name sake for design cues, the final result creates a much-needed open space for the QEII campus.
2020 AILA WA Award - Health & Education
The Georgeff Quadrangle was an unwelcoming and under-utilised forecourt space that functioned only as a pedestrian thoroughfare, lacking identity and amenity.
A key objective was to transform this utilitarian space into a vibrant, welcoming and useable precinct for social gathering and outdoor meetings for visitors, patients and students. Sinuous low brick walls and wide insitu concrete steps create effective, elegant terracing and definition of spaces to subtly and sensitively reinforce level transitions, and provide informal seating opportunities.
Drawing on its surrounds and namesake for design cues, the final result creates a much-needed open space destination for theQEII campus.
A key focus of the design strategy was to alter the utilitarian and clinical function and character of the site, which was essentially a transitional space between buildings, and transform it into a vibrant, welcoming and useable space for social gathering and outdoor meetings used by visitors, patients and students. Fundamental to achieving this was undertaking detailed site evaluation to identify the opportunities and constraints to redevelopment. Key constraints included the level transitions between surrounding buildings, maintaining multiple desire lines through the space and the myriad established services and infrastructure including a large brick mechanical vent prominently located in the centre of the quadrangle. Other constraints included integration with adjoining landscaped areas, retention of mature trees, as well as consideration of sun and shade patterns from surrounding multi-storey buildings. These constraints were carefully mapped and recorded to inform site planning principles and design decisions.
A key objective was to create a universally accessible, inclusive environment that could be enjoyed by all users. Sensitive manipulation of levels across the site has maintained cover over existing services and addressed drainage considerations whilst facilitating seamless pedestrian movement along multiple desire lines, and providing universal access to a variety of terraced lawns and paved areas. Sinuous low brick walls and wide insitu concrete steps create effective, elegant terracing and definition of spaces to subtly and sensitively reinforce level transitions through the space, as well as providing informal seating opportunities.
A variety of both small and large paved and grassed areas have been provided to create diverse options for quadrangle users, whether they be individuals seeking a quiet contemplative area, or larger groups requiring a gathering space. Accessible table settings provide shaded lunch spots or outdoor meeting points. Large existing trees have been retained and incorporated into generous garden beds, and supplemented with additional tree planting throughout the space to create areas of shade for users of the quadrangle.
The mechanical vent which visually dominated the space is now embraced within the landscape, transformed with a shroud of corten steel artwork that is representative of the blood cell research the quadrangle’s namesake, Dr Carl Georgeff, keenly pursued.
Reflected in the ethos of the design strategy are the sustainable materials and planting incorporated across the site. Given the high pedestrian and vehicular traffic, materials needed to be robust and require little to no maintenance with an extended longevity, and yet also be appealing and welcoming in nature.For these reasons, and coupled with our focus on minimal waste throughout the project, energy efficient, durable clay bricks have been used exclusively for all rebuilt walls and planter beds. The use of this material ties in with the site’s surrounds whilst creating a unique identity within the campus. To further minimise ongoing maintenance and costs, turf areas have been kept to a minimum, using sun studies and flow planning to ensure optimal location, whilst planting has been chosen to be hardy and water wise with an element of seasonal change.
As part of the material and plant selection process, the PLAN E team ensured that where possible any existing materials and planting were reused or stockpiled for later use across the QEII campus. This included the unit paving, of which the majority was re-laid, redesigning existing planter beds and protecting existing trees. Where trees were unable to remain in their initial location, they were removed and later incorporated back into the design or relocated across the health campus.
The previously overlooked and under-utilised Georgeff Quadrant required a major rejuvenation, however, Plan E sought to go beyond the brief of creating a functional space alone and saw an opportunity to create a unique identity for the site. The selection of materials blend and play homage to the adjacent surrounds whilst creating a unique space within the campus. The planting takes cues from the adjacent six seasons garden whilst building upon the existing mature planting which has been maintained. Additionally, fine level detailing brings another level of character and interest into the landscape, from the blood cell shroud and ACE inhibitor steel inserts in respect of DrCarl Georgeff, to the brick selection and detailing.