2014 Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize: University of Adelaide

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The scale of the surrounding office towers is reduced through the introduction of Corymbia and Eucalypt species, which create a continual canopy throughout the plaza.

The scale of the surrounding office towers is reduced through the introduction of Corymbia and Eucalypt species, which create a continual canopy throughout the plaza. Image: James Butterworth

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Plan showing the scope of the Canopy City project, located in the centre of the Adelaide CBD.

Plan showing the scope of the Canopy City project, located in the centre of the Adelaide CBD. Image: James Butterworth

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A section reveals the typical function of one of numerous raingardens integrated throughout the site.

A section reveals the typical function of one of numerous raingardens integrated throughout the site. Image: James Butterworth

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Canopy City: Adelaide Heat Island Mitigation Strategy
by James Butterworth

Landscape Architecture Australia Student Prize
Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Adelaide

Project statement

In Adelaide, temperatures have been observed seven degrees higher in the CBD than in the surrounding parklands. This temperature increase is referred to as the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Insufficient vegetation cover is a primary cause of UHIs. Vegetation cover can provide significant shading and evapotranspiration, and the lack of urban vegetation in Adelaide causes it to be an uncomfortable environment for large portions of the year. This results in the urban landscape being severely underused.

The Canopy City project proposes mitigation of UHIs in Adelaide through a carefully considered vegetation and water-retention program that aims to create a series of diverse, intimate and thoughtful urban landscapes. The program comprises three components. The first is canopy implementation, aimed primarily at reducing surface temperatures and humanizing the scale of the urban realm. The second component is extensive ground-cover planting to maximize biomass and evapotranspiration. Finally, water catchment and retention basins will irrigate the intensive vegetation within the site and further the process of evapotranspiration. Initially the Canopy City project will be established within the project site, which is located in one of the warmest areas in the CBD, with an expectation of eventual implementation throughout Adelaide.


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