Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

New public amenity in Domain wins architecture award

The revamped Yurong Precinct public amenity located in the Domain recently won the Architecture Award in the Small Project Architecture category of the 2013 Australian Institute of Architects' NSW Architecture Awards. Held on Thursday 27 June, the NSW Architecture Awards recognise excellence and innovation in Australian architecture.

The Government Architect's Office was appointed by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust to complete the project. Project Architect, Kit Ku and her team were specifically congratulated on the materiality, delicate detail and transparency of the structure by the jury.

According to the jury, ‘the use of natural light and the connection to the Garden and foreshore setting through materials and thoughtful planning is the great success of this building’. From concept to construction, the design aimed to seamlessly blend with the surrounding Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Domain.

Trust Project Manager Gary Hinchliffe said the 24-hour public access building has disability access, rainwater collection for toilet flushing, sensor operated taps and cisterns, LED lighting, plantation grown timber products and, where possible, building materials utilising high-content recycled materials. The amenities are robust enough for the high usage and are vandal resistant.

Officially opened to the public on Friday 21 December 2012, demolition and construction occurred over a six-month period. The builder, Clifford Constructions, was appointed from a prequalified Department of Finance and Service list of commercial builders.

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney attracts more visitors than any other botanic garden in the world. For this reason, improving public amenities at the Garden is a priority for the Trust. The amenities located on the Mare and Foal Lawn in the Garden will also undergo a revamp. The design will include similar fixtures to the Yurong Precinct design, and the plan is to include a concrete viewing platform on the roof of the structure. Once the Mare and Foal amenities are completed, the Palm Grove Centre amenities will be refurbished.

The Trust is working to make your visit more enjoyable. Recently, one of Australia’s most outstanding architectural firms, Cox Richardson, was appointed to develop a Master Plan for the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney and Domain that will enhance the world class status of these famous sites. Along with innovative amenities and increased access, the Master Plan will provide a platform for the Trust to deliver its mission; to connect people with plants through imaginative horticulture, beautiful landscapes, transformative learning experiences and cultural events. The Master Plan is due for completion by December 2013. 

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