Littlies get a big rap
The Marnebek School sensory courtyard at Cranbourne has wowed the judges in the Victorian Landscape Architecture Awards, taking out the Small Projects Landscape Architecture Award. Designed by Jeavons Landscape Architects, it was created for students aged five to 18, who have intellectual delays associated with multiple disabilities.
The garden combines many elements to enable students to experience varying topography, and a wide range of textures, terrains and planted spaces. Packed full of experiences to explore in a small space, this thoughtful design is enjoyable for students, teachers and therapists alike.
Jeavons Landscape Architect Felicity Brown, who has worked on projects at the Marnebek School for over 10 years, says staff and therapists collaborated with her on the design. Student therapy can be overwhelming indoors, but with sensory elements outside, the courtyard has now become an engaging, playful experience to inspire and encourage children to play, explore, discover, experiment and imagine. Inspired by two iconic children’s books, Imagine and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the garden incorporates a 3D undersea mural with sound, texture, colour and discovery. There’s a forest, swishy grass, tinkling water and an intriguing bear cave to stimulate imagination and play. It’s become a very happy and playful place.
This year’s awards, which are held under the umbrella of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, celebrate excellence in community engagement. The 11 Victorian award winners go through to the national awards, which are to be judged next month as part of the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.