Lit­tlies get a big rap

Gardening Australia - - GARDEN NEWS -

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.

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