Award winning nature walk
27 July 2017
The Jock Marshall Reserve Nature Walk at Clayton has been awarded the Landscape Architecture Award in the Infrastructure category at the 2017 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Victorian Awards.
The Nature Walk, completed in 2016, includes an elevated 200 metre long footbridge through the ecologically-significant Jock Marshall Reserve. Previously inaccessible to the public – students, staff and visitors can now experience first-hand, at canopy level, the exciting botanical life in the reserve and enjoy a unique bushland experience. The Nature Walk features seating, book leaning rails, wheelchair accessible desks and power points. It has also improved connectivity between the campus heart and the surrounding community.
“In combination with the JMR Environmental Centre, the project responds to the University's ambition to be inclusive; to enable outreach, new partnerships, collaboration and innovation; and to create memorable, impactful and enriching campus experiences, “The Nature Walk embodies the idea that a bridge isn’t just a means of getting from A to B, but a site for exchange, collaboration, encounter and discovery, all of which are ingredients for innovation,” said Campus Design manager Jocelyn Chiew.
Landscape Architects Urban Initiatives developed a minimal disturbance approach to all aspects of the design – both on and above ground.
“It was essential that we preserved all valuable vegetation, both for construction and to contribute to the ongoing experience and use of the nature walk” said Urban Initiatives Director Tim Hart.
“We used drone aerial photography during the design phase to map the path of the proposed boardwalk through the existing tree canopies. This helped to establish an elevated alignment for the boardwalk structure which retained the significant trees, providing a close tree top experience and excellent views into the Jock Marshall Reserve.”
The reserve was established by and named after the Foundation Chair of Zoology and Comparative Physiology, Professor AJ 'Jock’ Marshall in 1961. Monash’s master planner had originally envisaged the campus as an English park with an ornamental lake. However Marshall had a different vision: Australian bushland with a billabong. He fought against the architects, the poor conditions and the waterlogged clay of the site to turn old farmland into a native bush habitat.