The second pivotal element included a number of radiating arms which reach out to adjacent buildings through a broader urban design gesture. Critically these design features infuse cultural motifs which pick up on Indigenous cultural and artistic practices specific to the South East of Australia, namely traditional carving practices (referencing Dendroglyphs – carved trees) as well as body paint, through an etched paving graphic which doubles as the primary access points in the courtyard space.
Contemporary Aboriginal Art
The most visible gesture was an unashamedly contemporary and specifically curated piece of artwork by Aboriginal digital artist Aroha Groves, signifying the power of art in the public realm and acting as a striking marker in the landscape. The piece evokes nature, place and connections to Country and acts as a backdrop that reinforces the landscape setting in which it is located.
The space, importantly, acted as a place of pause, within the hustle and bustle of a busy University counteracted by an intimately scaled landscape setting in collaboration with Gubbi and Monero/Ngarigo landscape designer Charles Solomon. Here the existing staircase connected to the adjacent Alumni Courtyard provided an opportunity to amplify a sense of enclosure through the completion of an amphitheatre, using local blackbutt timbers overlooking the green space.
All planting used were endemic and indigenous species to the local bio region. Incorporating planting communicates the importance of landscape in sustaining life and cultural practice, including specimens traditionally use for edible, medicinal and utility like weaving. Pedagogical panels engaged the public by providing a cultural context of interpretation as a means for cultural exchange.