Author: Jason Davidson
Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital is undergoing a garden facelift. What was once an overgrown and underused space on the hospital’s most prominant street frontage of Commercial Road, will soon be a welcoming and relaxing garden for visitors, patients and staff.
Over the last two years, Genus has been working with The Alfred to try and achieve the best possible outcome for this area. The original garden consisted of two separate paths of different paving materials that led into the garden but provided no real connection through the space. A large fire hydrant unit sits obtrusively to one end of the garden and several attempts to replant and reinvigorate the space had led to a mixture of natives, exotics and weed species.
An increase in cycling visitors to the hospital led to hand rails being used for bike parking and there were very few opportunities for seating.
This was the face of the Alfred Hospital and it wasn’t attractive.
The brief for our team was to create a garden that would invite more users to sit and relax, provided dedicated bicycle parking space, created a pedestrian link from the Commercial Road footpath towards the hospital entry and established renewed garden beds with attratctive planting beneath a grove of existing Eucalyptus and Wattle trees.
Genus has developed the project through a variety of concepts until the current garden layout was developed to achieve these aims, while also working to the hospital’s budget. Once the concept was approved by The Alfred, the project was taken to tender and awarded to Urban Studios. In February, safety fencing went up around the site and the Urban Studios team have been hard work bringing our design to life.
New pavement will combine with re-sealing of existing concrete and bitumen to create uniform paths.
A direct line from the Commercial Road footpath allows pedestrians to cross through the garden on their way to the main entry, while the central paved area allows for seating, resting and conversation.
A line of 32 new bike hoops sit to the side of the pavement so the cyclists have a safe and out of the way area away to lock their bikes.
The existing trees have been worked around to ensure their roots have not been compromised and existing levels maintained with low garden walls.
With the walls to be rendered and the pavement to be sealed this week, the space has seen a quick transformation since the team at Urban Studios began and it won’t be long until it is completed and open for use!