Freefall Forest – University of Canberra

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A University of Canberra project allowed a revisit of the ‘Freefall’ proposal, including the resolution of site levels and production of documentation such as a setout plan and a levels and grading plan.

Design Statement

The concept of Freefall is an architectural sculpture and interactive experience that reveals the various layers of the site, and the rich context of the Engineers Australia freefall pin-oak forest. The landscape installation revolves around a central ‘node’ sculpture, enclosed within a ‘space of reflection’ secluded from the surrounding forest.

This sculpture would be designed to be physically interactive, floating on a thin cushion of water and able to be pushed and pulled by the visitor, allowing them to experience forces and motion on a hands-on level. The sculpture and landscaping suggest through their overlapping and intertwining circular forms the different aspects of the surrounding landscape, and particularly its ‘engineered’ influences; recalling the circular geometry of Canberra’s spatial planning and its Architectural and Civil Engineering history, while also referencing the forest and the material layering of tree rings.

The meandering path through the site is conceived as an aerial trajectory, rising from the materiality and formative experience of the earth and the reflection space to soar into the air between the trees. This path forms a ribbon and narrative through the site and would be developed with interpretive signage exploring its intertwined and ‘unwrapped’ layers; from aboriginal custodianship of the, through the history of Engineering in Australia to the story of Canberra and the Arboretum site.

The design of Freefall ties together the various layers of meaning that contribute to the pin oak forest site in an innovative and dynamic way, and allows the story of the arboretum, and indeed Canberra itself, to evolve long into the future.

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