Rio Tinto Naturescape, Kings Park

Client: Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority  |  Status: Completed 2017

The $9 million Rio Tinto Naturescape comprises an internationally unique, interactive and highly site responsive naturalistic landscape spanning 6 hectares, embedded within the renowned Kings Park and Botanic Garden (KPBG) Perth, Western Australia. The vision for Naturescape was to provide a tactile and experiential naturalistic environment incorporating iconic dryland and wetland habitats, that inspired learning and positive environmental action through fun, discovery, immersion and connection with nature. With the completion of stage two, this highly focused and socially responsive vision is fulfilled.

Ensuring the project presents as a truly naturalistic bushland environment, an understated low-key landscape design was founded on the existing natural attributes of the site and in particular landform and vegetation. Individual design elements, including two dramatic aerial teaching walkways, viewing towers, shelters and seating pods are specifically designed to present as deliberate, yet sympathetic, intrusions into the natural landscape inspired by the shape of animals, seeds, leaves and nests. All works are highly site responsive, and minimise environmental impacts. The retention of existing native vegetation, including rare and endangered species, was a fundamental principal, together with the promotion of sound environmental management and maintenance practices.

The design reflects sustainable principles and promotes best practice in water management, energy efficiency and public safety. All water to the extensive artificial lakes, streams and wetland habitats is managed through KPBG’s irrigation system, in a closed loop that returns all water to the park’s main irrigation holding ponds for reuse. Rain water runoff from the lake and stream catchments is collected for return to the holding ponds via the same system. Additionally, all stormwater from car and bus parking and access roads is captured for use within the park.

Rio Tinto Naturescape’s built forms comprises a composite of natural materials including timber and stone sourced from throughout Western Australia. In particular Stone Gateways created from 150 tonnes of Ironstone brought 1400 kms from Tom Price in remote north Western Australia, link the project with the iconic landscape of the state.

The client states “Your imaginative vision, your ability to turn that vison into reality …..are demonstrated to achieve this excellent result”.

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