Contextual Diagram

The artwork commission was part of the design of the Clyde North Integrated Community Centre and Town Square in Selandra Rise, a new residential community located in the south-east growth corridor, 52km from Melbourne CBD. As Selandra Rise is one of a number of planned developments within the area, which will see the population grow by 100,000 people over the next 10 years, the addressing of the physical isolation and cultural diversity of its inhabitants is a key challenge for local council and community organisations.

With these issues in mind the Clyde North’s Community Centre intended to provide space for community service organisations to deliver key services and for community groups to come together to participate and connect. The design of the community centre incorporates halls and meeting rooms of varying sizes, exhibition space, and a commercial kitchen. The adjoining town square provides residents with an accessible community precinct, creating connectivity between facilities and providing for a range of community activities, events and programs.

Central to the vision for the Community Centre and adjoining plaza was the desire for a site specific interactive artwork that would engender a sense of community engagement within the town square. The brief from Simon Doyle, the Arts Development Officer at the City of Casey, called for the design, fabrication and installation of an artwork that would play with the notion of poetics in public space and express public interaction in a physically experiential way.

The council’s plan for the development of the artwork was to break away from the usual tendering process and instead employ a collaborative approach in which the architecture and landscape architecture team from the council would work closely with an art and design based research team to establish a fruitful exchange of ideas.

Serendipitously, the Augmented Landscape Laboratory (ALL) an interdisciplinary team of artists and designers at RMIT University’s School of Architecture and Design had been recently established. At the time, ALL was prototyping strategies towards the development of interactive systems that could generate affective environments in public spaces. The ALL team members were proficient in designing with a range of ephemeral materials including sound and light; and their interconnection through interactive data-based systems.

The Augmented Landscape Laboratory’s response to the council’s brief was to propose a series of collaborative design sessions between the design-based researchers at RMIT and the design team within Casey Council. The goal of these workshops was to establish a research framework around the project that could manifest the parameters of a creative methodology through which design decisions could be made.

Rather than presenting finished design proposals for consideration by the council, the process involved a lengthy period of familiarisation with the issues surrounding the community, the site and the nature of interactive design by all parties. This process ensured that the artists, designers, landscape architects and the community engagement staff at the council had a common language through which to discuss the development of the artworks design.


Site Analysis