Landezine
International
Landscape
Award
Nightingale 2.0, Fairfield

SBLA were engaged to undertake the planting design for Six Degrees Nightingale 2.0 in Fairfield. The planting takes inspiration from windy, mountainous Australian landscapes – treating the building as microclimate. Dry sclerophyll planting sits on the rooftop, whilst Australian rainforest species cascade down the southside of the building into a welcoming arrival garden. The apartment building has a strong social and environmental ambition – born from the Nightingale Housing model where social wellbeing and environmental outcomes are at the forefront of the development.

“The ‘Nightingale’ development model is a new building model that looks at social and environmental aspects of a building’s design to be on an even playing field to its financial factors”. SBLA were engaged by Hip v Hype during the conception stage of the project. SBLA were able to work with the architects to develop soil profiles and suitable planting conditions from the outset, which meant the expectations of the project were met upon completion of the project. Expectations were managed around the idea of an ‘instant garden’. SBLA worked closely with the project team and future residents to outline the conceptual intent of the garden and to relay that beautiful fulfilling gardens take time.

Roof gardens and communal spaces are prioritised within the Nightingale development to allow for apartment owners to socialise in exterior spaces and to populate external walkways and staircases. SBLA wanted to challenge the norm when it comes to planting design and residential buildings. Often these types of developments require exotic planting species and water hungry plant species that aren’t necessarily as ‘green’ functionally as they look. Green walls typically requiring artificial light sources and complex watering systems to meet the photomontage renders utilised to aid in reaching Council approval.

“The ‘Nightingale’ development model is a new building model that looks at social and environmental aspects of a building’s design to be on an even playing field to its financial factors”. SBLA were engaged by Hip v Hype during the conception stage of the project. SBLA were able to work with the architects to develop soil profiles and suitable planting conditions from the outset, which meant the expectations of the project were met upon completion of the project. Expectations were managed around the idea of an ‘instant garden’. SBLA worked closely with the project team and future residents to outline the conceptual intent of the garden and to relay that beautiful fulfilling gardens take time.

Roof gardens and communal spaces are prioritised within the Nightingale development to allow for apartment owners to socialise in exterior spaces and to populate external walkways and staircases. SBLA wanted to challenge the norm when it comes to planting design and residential buildings. Often these types of developments require exotic planting species and water hungry plant species that aren’t necessarily as ‘green’ functionally as they look. Green walls typically requiring artificial light sources and complex watering systems to meet the photomontage renders utilised to aid in reaching Council approval. SBLA examined naturally occurring landscape systems that exist on windy hilltops, embankment planting and arid mountain tops. This thinking was applied to the way we can select plant species for multi-storey buildings and gave us comfort as to what plants could potentially thrive at varying altitude. Acacia species grown from seed such as clay wattle, leafless rock wattle and cascading cultriformis were all planted to the rooftop and southern façade. Providing ‘pops’ of yellow to the streetscape and footpath below.
Sturt desert pea and Eucalyptus species are planted between apartment balconies and smoke bush and grapevine sit on the rooftop to provide shades of pink at varying times of the year.

SBLA sought to use native drought tolerate plant species such as epiphytes encased between elks and stag ferns to green the southern building façade. This greenwall element is to referred to as the Crack garden – referencing a geological fracture, a vertical flaw in the buildings formation. There were a number of challenges during the project process. The design team were novated to the builder and the landscape and irrigation design drawings were missed entirely and therefore not priced. The landscape budget was substantially cut, plants were not procured by client as requested so plant species that were nominated to be project grown were not procured and during construction the irrigation conduits and integral water connections were not installed into the building slab. Numerous meetings were held between builder and design team to discuss irrigation and hydraulic connections, however the building project manager changed four times throughout the project timeline.

SBLA had to reconfigure the crack garden to ensure that the garden would function with one irrigation point at level 5 of the building and one irrigation point on the ground floor. This constraint forced the SBLA team to think laterally, so a cement fibre backing was designed to both hide the black irrigation piping down the five storey southern façade and fixing mechanisms detailed. Research was undertaken by the SBLA team into the success of growing elk and stag ferns on an artificial backing.
Spray irrigation is utilised during hot summer days, however the rest of the year the garden requires little water. The Nightingale project has shown that native plants can be used on multi-storey buildings leading a new way for greening facades and rooftops. SBLA selected native plants suitable to the microclimates created by the built form by researching naturally occurring landscape systems and the sub regions that potentially had parallel micro-climatic conditions to the various levels of the apartment building.

This project is ground breaking in that 90% of the plants are native and are not typically planted in an urban setting nor in development projects. The apartment building is heavily visited and teaches visitors the importance of utilising native plants within our urban environment to aid in the cities bio-diversity and to celebrate our beautiful landscape.

Name of the project: Nightingale 2.0, Fairfield
Project category: Residential housing
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape architect/planting design
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any): Rebecca White
Project location: 72A Station Street, Fairfield, Victoria, Australia.
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2019

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