Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

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New facilities for visitors

Visitors can enjoy new facilities on offer at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan

Since free entry to the Garden was announced in April 2011 by the Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, visitation to the Garden has increased significantly. As a result, in September 2011 the NSW Government announced $500,000 in major capital funding, followed by $250,000 per annum for three years, to be made available for the provision of new visitor amenities for the Garden.

Construction of the first stage of this amenities program began in June last year with a picnic shelter at the eastern area of the Big Idea Garden, picnic shelter and barbecues at the northern end of the Banksia Garden and a new toilet block facility at the Banksia Garden. These new amenities are now open for visitors to enjoy

The design of the buildings was developed in consultation with Garden staff and based on a modular construction system that incorporates the use of unmilled telegraph poles reclaimed from the site as primary structural elements. Use of these poles provided the Garden with an opportunity to demonstrate sustainable building techniques. These poles were once used to carry electricity through the Garden prior to the upgrades required to cater for increased housing development in the area.

The poles extend past the line of the buildings and into the surrounding landscape with the vertical element of the poles providing an harmonious interface between the built and natural environments with the botanic garden milieu. Their highly sculptural quality allows the new structures to become place markers within the Garden.

For Architect Anthony Nolan of Kennedy Associates Architects, the key consideration in the design was to maximise engagement with the Garden wherever possible. This is evident in a number of ways, including the extension of the paving pattern into the landscape, the use of roof forms that open up at the edges and the open pathways of the amenities building. It is anticipated that this form will influence future building within the Garden.

Materials used within the buildings were chosen for their longevity and cohesion with the colours and textures of the Garden. Recycled plastic features prominently within the design and is used for wall cladding, screening and seating. Landscaping of the new amenities will provide natural screening.

Over the next few years, construction of a picnic shelter and barbecues at the Wattle Garden, a pavilion and a new toilet block facility at Lakeside will take place.

As with the picnic shelters located in the theme gardens, these new shelters are available for hire for exclusive use for functions and picnics. To find out more about hiring a venue at the Garden, please contact the Visitor Centre on 4634 7935

Picnic shelter at Mount Annan

Picnic shelter at Mount Annan