RPS has provided urban design and landscape architectural services to the consortium engaged by Brisbane City Council to design, construct and operate Legacy Way tunnel in Brisbane. As part of this project, our team has lead the master planning and landscape design of a major expansion of Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha.
Showcasing the subtropics through great design
RPS worked closely with the Brisbane Botanic Gardens’ curator Ross McKinnon and his team to design the ‘Queensland Conservation Garden’ – a new botanical attraction that displays rare and threatened plant species from across Queensland.
The garden features an 18 megalitre water storage lagoon and water transfer system, central events lawn, flood detention system, landscaping over the Legacy Way tunnel entrance structure, and an underground tunnel ventilation station.
A variety of landforms were created to accommodate the unique microclimates required for different plant species from across Queensland. These microclimates are integrated with the many open spaces and pathway networks that connect the extension to the existing Botanic Gardens.
Over 54 nurseries were involved in sourcing the more than 31,000 plants incorporated into the Garden extension, including more than 1,100 endemic Queensland species and over 300 rare or threatened species.
Soil specifications were developed for each horticultural zone, and an integrated irrigation system was developed with Irrigation Design Australia to meet varying water requirements.
Transport infrastructure meets landscape architecture
One striking feature of the garden is the Legacy Way’s western tunnel ventilation outlet. This 22m high concrete structure is located on the hilltop lookout above the underground ventilation building.
This functional structure is clad in a unique artwork developed by RPS & Urban Art Projects, which is inspired by the vascular system of plants. The irregular forms of the cladding break up the mass of the structure, and allow it visually blend into the vegetated backdrop of Mt Coot-tha forest.
Landscapes for learning
The Botanic Gardens expansion features 38 botanical display zones, including the wetland walk, forest walk, palm grove (which includes a successfully transplanted 200-year-old Livistonia), fig canopy, central events zone, open picnic area and hilltop lookout.
While all areas are designed for public interaction and learning, the interactive kitchen garden, outdoor kitchen and education building have become key features of the Gardens.
A display of edible and medicinal plants connect children with food and its production, and RPS worked closely with the architects of the adjacent buildings - Bosanquet Foley - to ensure their layout would support the many outdoor educational programs operated by Brisbane Botanic Gardens, while remaining true to the broader master plan and landscape design.
Image Credit: Dig It and RPS