A.K. Reserve: Interpretive Site works between Basketball and Athletics Stadia, Perth, Western Australia
Clients: Department of Sport & Recreation
Architects: Paul Hunt
Artist: Pamela Gaunt
Fabricator: All Glass Abstractions
The intention was to create an integrated artwork into the proposed structure of the A.K. Reserve boardwalks located between the basket ball and athletics stadia.
It was important that the artwork conceptually reflects the work I produced in 2004 for the WA Ecology Centre in neighbouring Bold Park and also make reference to the redundant Perry Lakes Stadium. The artwork is intended to have an aesthetic appeal to the public but also an embedded conceptual aspect that can be discovered as one negotiates the space.
In their commissioned research on the A. K. Reserve (2007), ATA Environment identified that the flora corridor had been degraded and contained no high priority flora species. However, there was the potential for one endangered fauna species calyptorhynchus latirostris, Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, to inhabit the reserve because of the proximity to Bold Park where its presence has been documented. None of the four tree hollows in the reserve contained all of the characteristics favoured by Black Cockatoos but it was thought the presence of Marri and Tuart trees meant that this endangered species was likely to be an occasional visitor to the reserve.
One of the recommendations in ATA Environment’s report was to install interpretive signage, ‘to inform visitors to the area of the environmental value and significance of the flora corridor’ in the A.K. Reserve. The proposed artwork for the A.K. Reserve boardwalk creates a non-didactic approach to informing the public of the above statement. The intention is to enlighten the potentially numerous visitors to the stadia about the significance of the flora and fauna corridor in the A. K. Reserve. In addition, it makes reference to the existence of the old Perry Lakes stadium by recycling its timber seating and engraving information into its surface to create new seating at strategic points along the boardwalk.
The conceptual underpinning for both Bold Park and the A.K. Reserve artworks takes its impetus from significant flora and fauna species that exist in the respective locations. The existing artwork in the adjacent Bold Park focused on the high priority species and the tree canopy species in this reserve. The artwork for the boardwalk builds upon this idea. The presence of some significant native trees currently provides an important tree canopy for the existing flora, and will also be beneficial for the planned re-vegetation in the re-development. Due to the absence of any high priority species in the A. K. Reserve, the focus for the artwork will be to highlight the significance of the tree canopy species, featuring leaf motifs with the names of the five significant tree canopy species: Corymbia calophylla: Marri; Eucalyptus gomphocephala: Tuart; Eucalyptus marginata: Jarrah; Banksia menziesii; and Banksia grandis: Bull Banksia.
Through imagery and text inspired by the above research, a series of integrated patterns comprised of the abovementioned leaf and bird motifs, that act as a frame for containing their relevant species and common names, were embedded into the surface of the boardwalk planks. seating . It is anticipated that the artwork will not only offer an aesthetic appeal but also adopt a non-didactic approach to highlighting significant flora and fauna to the public and be informative about the site and the revegetation plan to restore the flora corridor. The artist has consulted with environmental scientist Dr Paul van der Moezel, from ATA Environmental, and the Principal signatory to the report mentioned earlier, to ensure that all data used in the artwork is correct.
The artwork consists of a total of 48 metal boardwalk patterned intervention planks that are positioned in five different locations along the Eastern and Western boardwalks. The artwork sections will be made from perforated steel and sandblasted in the non-text areas to create a rough/smooth surface that h9ighlights the patterned sections. They will be created from the same boardwalk material proposed by the architects, anticipating ’seamlessness’ in where the artwork starts and finishes on the boardwalk. Strategic integrated lighting was proposed to illuminate the perforated metal sections on the boardwalk at night to create a ‘magical’ appeal and will take advantage of the existing lighting plan for the boardwalk, but, for various reasons, this idea was abandoned.
Related seating located at most of the artwork interventions in the boardwalk presents engraved surfaces that further explain the rationale for the artwork.
Acknowledgements: The artist wishes to thank Mert Tavslani and the Locker Group, Melbourne, Australia, for their contribution towards the Pic Perf technique in the Corten boardwalk planks.
Material and Technical Details
Part One: Boardwalk Artwork As the project developed changes were made to the project and the two boardwalks were converted into a boardwalk and a pathway. The artwork planks were created using a perforated metal technique (Locker - pic perf) that allows text and image patterns to be created through the puncturing of holes into metal. A total of 48 boardwalk planks were arranged in five artwork sections, in various locations, along the eastern and western boardwalk/pathway. Sandblasting is used in-between the patterned leaf/cockatoo shapes for textural relief, but also to prevent slippage.
The artwork sections operate as interventions to the boardwalk and pathway structure and the planks will be made from the same boardwalk material and will match the dimensions and installation technique requirements that the architects have planned for the whole boardwalk structure.
Part Two: Seating Artwork Two seating sections with engraving into the battens – one on each boardwalk - featuring didactic information about the boardwalk concept - are part of the artwork. The seating is integrated into the boardwalk structure and is located adjacent to the patterned sections. The seating surface is made from re-cycled seating from the redundant Perry Lakes Stadium.
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