The art of landscape architecture

The key to engaging landscape design is forming strong relationships with nearby spaces. Landscape architect Arden Jones from Spacelab talks about the challenges and opportunities with the design at Essence.

Q. WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL WITH ESSENCE?

A. Overall, we wanted to capture a playful element within the landscape to contrast with the architectural design of the building. To do this we used angles and bold colours to contrast against the building’s clean, straight lines and traditional palette.

Essence is facing an open pedestrian park, and so visually there were two main objectives we needed to achieve:

One, we wanted to draw residents’ views out of the site to the open spaces that surround it. This meant it was important to use balcony railings and plantings that wouldn’t obstruct views.

Two, we wanted to extend the landscape into the open spaces, drawing people’s attention towards Essence.

Q. WERE THERE ANY CHALLENGES YOU NEEDED TO OVERCOME?

A. There is an open space running between Essence that functions as a right of way easement and a combined use zone. We needed to ensure the space would remain safe for pedestrians while allowing for waste management services to access the building. So the space needed to be functional as well as aesthetic.

We used planters to divide the space and guide pedestrians away from waste access areas, encouraging people to walk on one side, while vehicles could access the opposite side. By adding seating to this area, we were able to combine several uses into the one space, with each use complementing the others - forming a great interactive communal space.

Q. ARE THERE ANY FEATURES YOU ARE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A. I like the way we designed the ground floor residential courtyards. They are paved with angular tiles and feature angular planter boxes with small ornamental trees. The angles create a contrast with the straight lines of the building, they add a sense of vibrancy and life to the space.