The final stage of this project completes an extraordinary venture in what has already become a world-renowned experiment into a new type of public garden – where nature and artifice are synthesized to provide an experience and appreciation of the Australian landscape that is at once tangible and abstract. This is a brave work that in lesser hands could have become a parody of its intent and kitsch in its execution. The work is beautifully wrought with a skilful selection of materials, expert scaling of key landscape elements and bold use of contemporary art that has been integrated into the work in a manner that emphasizes the natural elements. This is a mature work that develops ideas and lessons from previous projects and concerns.
Although it is obviously a large garden, there is a perception that it is even larger again, created by the manipulation of scale and perspective and the adroit revelation of certain prospects. There is an inventiveness to this project beyond the immediate attraction of its visual appeal. The almost graphic quality of the plan and land-art quality of its experience are underpinned by significant skills and knowledge and experience of the landscapes portrayed. It is only with this depth of understanding that such a distilled abstraction of the landscape can be so successfully achieved.
For more coverage, read Kate Gamble’s review from Landscape Architecture Australia 143.