MALA Studio: A vibrant new recreational and cultural public space has been unveiled to the public in Melbourne’s Docklands. The project is the latest from up and comers MALA Studio who designed and developed the CLEC Site Masterplan for Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne.
The awkward triangular site was one of the last slithers of undeveloped public land in the precinct consisting of a series of dilapidated and disconnected buildings, plazas, courts and artworks. The site also contained a high pressure gas easement which effectively divided the site into two portions. The Masterplan aimed to unite the site and connect it to the surrounding Docklands Park by enhancing green space, reconfiguring existing elements, and creating new pockets of activity.
The recently completed park marks the second stage of the project and comprises a multi-purpose sports court, exercise stations, ping pong tables, daybeds, seats, gardens and green open spaces. The site also houses Amanda Levetes 2015 MPavilion which was relocated during Stage 1 of the project.
Since opening the park has been buzzing with people and activity both day and night. In the morning local residents walk their dogs and training groups run circuits and drills. During lunch hours the park is inundated with office workers eating lunch, working out, playing ping pong or lounging on the daybeds or tilted lawns. At night the multi courts host basketball, netball and soccer clubs and the MPavilion curates events. The project is one of Melbourne’s new generation smart parks offering free wi-fi and phone charging stations throughout the precinct. Also hidden within the park are weather and data collecting instruments. However, even with this technology, ingrained within the project is an expression of the site’s unique and contextual history. All the timbers used in the project were salvaged from the recently demolished Docklands North Wharf, less than 400m from the CLEC site.
North Wharf was historically significant with local Engineers opting to experiment with Australian hardwoods (such as Jarrah, Red Gum, Iron bark, and Yellow Box) rather than imported European timbers which were more commonly used at the turn of the century. Through careful planning and collaboration between the client, builder, timber merchant and landscape architect, salvaged timbers were graded, reconditioned and repurposed as the customised seats and daybeds within the new park.
The stage of the CLEC site is dynamic, fun, and playful. It allows another generation of city goers an outdoor Melbourne jaunt with a tasty side of history!
Lead Designer and Landscape Architect: MALA Studio
Construction: Maben Group
Engineering (Structural and Civil): Taylor Thompson Whiting (TTW)
Engineering (Services): Plan B Services
Irrigation: Make it Wet
Arborist: Stephen Fitzgerald- Arboriculture
Recycled Timber: Timber Revival