Home' In The City : In The City - Spring 2011 Contents 51
Monday August 29, 2011
In a concrete jungle, a piece of greenery
is like an oasis. For city slickers, it
reminds us that the world we live in
is not just made up of grey slabs and
bitumen. That's why, the north and south
(so you can view the sunrise or sunset) 'sky
gardens' on level four of the Apartments in
NewActon are so heavenly.
They offer residents a taste of
sophisticated suburbia while living in the
CBD. Directors of the Molonglo Group,
Efkarpidis brothers Jonathan and Nectar,
had a vision for this living complex, which
included a space where residents could go
outside and enjoy panoramic views with a
coffee or a wine and where children could
run around in a decent sized area.
"My two-year-old daughter comes out
here and she runs up and down and up and
down and it is great to see," Jonathan says.
The brothers also have an interest in
permaculture and want to grow plants that
can be used, like fruit trees and herbs.
Stepping out onto the carefully manicured
garden, the views are striking. The eye can
see out as far as the glass-still Lake Burley
Griffin to the bushier land surrounding.
The garden is tidy, yet seems to offer an
invitation to lie down on the grass among
the flowers and listen to music, scatter
novels around the place and become
immersed in its beating heart.
Director of Pamille Berg Consulting Pty
Ltd, Pamille Berg is one of Australia's most
experienced public art consultants and has
been working with the Efkarpidis brothers
for five years. She believes a garden within
the city is extremely important.
"When creating a garden in the CBD, it
is about making another piece of the city,"
"How do we slowly craft a green space?"
The furniture used in the garden is very
sturdy and is custom-made and designed
by Oculus landscape architects. Even the
garden borders have a purpose -- they
comprise Rosemary, perfect for residents to
pick and use in summer roasts.
Something that stands out as a quirky
touch to the gardens is a trio of interesting
statues. Sydney sculptor, Ocre Lawson
made the creatures out of cast concrete.
'Dingo', located in the north garden
looks out over the city and the idea behind
that statue is getting a dog for the garden.
'Trudge', also located in the north garden
is a person trudging along who looks like
they have the weight of the world on their
shoulders. This symbolizes who we are
today and in a way. In the south garden
lives 'Contemplative'; a lanky character
with very big feet rooting him to the spot.
Like many people who sit nearby on the
rooftop garden, he contemplates life.
"The gardens have been a huge selling
point for these apartments," Jonathan says.
"People like to bring their wine and cheese
out here and meet other residents. We have
also held a yoga workshop out there."
"Living high-rise is a new thing for
Canberrans. A lot of residents are coming
from suburban blocks with gardens
and here, you can still walk out of your
apartment door and into a garden. Children
still have a sense of a 'yard'."
Within the courtyards
of these five-year-old
find two very different
city gardens. In one
is a Japanese style
garden, in the other
is a tropical style
Created by Hindmarsh
Construction, the garden
tells a story of a scenic
picture in Japan; sea,
islands and mountains.
The white pebbles
represent the sea, the
islands are the green
mounds with maple
trees on them and at
the rear are the stone
columns which represent
mountains with fern trees
on top. Residents love to
sun bathe on the pebbles
or a read a book.
The second garden has a
tropical theme filled with
Cycads and Maple trees,
bordered by Hibi plants.
It is a lovely shady spot
for the residents of the
apartments to be in during
the spring time when all
the leaves and flowers
Both gardens have a
barbecue area, which
makes it a community
space for residents to
socialize and meet other
Frank Kelly believes it is
extremely important to
have a green space if living
in the city.
"If you are constantly
looking at carparks and
bitumen, it is crucial to
have a bit of fresh air,
green grass and nature"
Mr Kelly said.
Known for its bushland, Canberra is a flurry of native flora and fauna. But what
happens when you step into the growing density of the capital's CBD? RAHIMA SAIKAL
discovers the secret gardens of the city.
The treasured rooftop gardens of
Apartments at NewActon. Photo by Julia Karrer
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