The National Arboretum project in Canberra, designed by Taylor Cullity Lethlean, commenced in 2005 but only opened in 2013. Photography: John Gollings
The Arboretum - with its visitor centre, pictured here, by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects - is a sprawling 250-hectare site of 100 single species forests and 100 gardens intertwined. Photography: Brett Boardman
The Arboretum is leading the way in the protection of worldwide tree diversity. Photography: John Gollings
The 100 forests on the site include endangered tree species. Photography: John Gollings
Aiming to display, conserve and further studies into rare trees from Australia and around the world, the National Arboretum Canberra is also an important educational resource. Photography: John Gollings
The Arboretum's latest addition, the playground, is swathed in rustic, earthy tones and surrounded by indigenous flora. Photography: Brett Boardman
The playground attempts to recreate the smells, sounds and textures that would introduce children to the unique Australian landscape. Photography: Brett Boardman
The Australian Garden is another impressive landscape design by Australian practice Taylor Cullity Lethlean, in collaboration with Paul Thompson. Started in 1995, the project has only recently been completed. Photography: John Gollings
Situated in the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne and spanning some 15 hectares, the Australian Garden is a stunning showcase of the continent's flora. Its visitor centre (pictured here) was designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects. Photography: John Gollings
Water is a key element in the design of the Australian Garden, connecting manmade and natural elements. Photography: John Gollings
1 / 13
Australian landscape architecture practice Taylor Cullity Lethlean is currently adding the final touches its latest park project in its home country, the National Arboretum in Canberra, which it created in collaboration with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects.
A sprawling 250-hectare site of 100 single species forests and 100 gardens intertwined, the arboretum is a stunning solution to the need for tree diversity protection and offers facilities that invite human exploration.
TCL's projects oscillate in scale and are a careful balance of sustainability and aesthetics. Its work ranges from masterplans to residential projects and public gardens, such as the spectacular Australia Garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Cranbourne, designed in collaboration with Paul Thompson. 'Our ancient land holds many stories, a number of which are rarely visited by Australia's population due to the continent's vast scale,' says Simone Bliss, senior landscape architect at TCL. 'We search for the site's hidden narrative, abstract what we find and apply this process to the community's needs.'
The National Arboretum is now open, but like nature, the project keeps evolving. The firm's design for a themed playground, a whimsical celebration of nature's elegance, is the latest addition, featuring clusters of concrete Banksia plant cones and acorn-shaped houses clad in red cedar shingles. 'On a psychological level, it's about connecting children to nature. We hope that children grow as the forests do,' explains Bliss. Swathed in rustic, earthy tones and surrounded by indigenous flora, the space is a woodland delight rife with smells, sounds and textures that introduce children to the unique Australian landscape.
The practice uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines the positives of urban and natural life. 'Landscape architecture is still in its infant stages in the eyes of the public. It has the ability to morph into various forms, making it difficult to summarise,' she says. 'People are continuing to see the benefits of green infrastructure and the importance of public space is becoming more apparent.'