The design and fabrication of five gates to mark the 150th anniversary of the St Kilda Botanical Gardens.

Gate 1, the Forgotten Entrance, Dickens Street

Symmetry is a key element in Victorian design. This gate was designed to restore symmetry and complement the wealth of original features found at the southern end of the Garden. For posterity, it celebrates milestones throughout 150 years of the Garden’s people, plants and structures.

The arbor provides formality and framing. The canopy of the arbor is a gestural form incorporating native flora, the cypress trees, the lay of the land as you enter and the nautical history of St Kilda. The shape of the side columns are derived from plant forms beyond the gate and have platforms at the base to provide seating.

Vertical bars represent time and are stamped with relevant milestone dates over 150 years. Horizontal name stamped bars represent the people who have played a part in the Garden’s development including its original owners, the Wurundjeri people and its designer Tilman W. Gloystein. Where time and people intersect, milestones such as plantings, events and buildings are represented by their own notational ring. For example, the rose garden by a forged rose, communal chess board by a chess piece, playground by a rocket, glasshouse by a fern, eco centre by an outline of the building, ponds by glass and indigenous garden by forged specimens of indigenous plants.

A traditionally styled decorative flourish across the top of the gate expresses the Garden’s future growth. The history revealed in this design tells the story to future generations and is a direct link to what is found within.

Gate 2, corner of Dickens and Tennyson Street (entrance to play space) and Gate 3, corner Dickens and Herbert Street (near indigenous plant garden)

“The play space entrance” notations include the playground itself and other plants in this corner of the garden. Slight variations in the detail are designed to give it a lighter friendlier feel.

The indigenous plant garden entrance” notations are strictly native to the local area, enhancing the Garden’s focus on the conservation of indigenous species of the sand belt region of Victoria.

These two gates provide further symmetry and cohesion along the southern boundary of the garden. Within these gates six rings hold notations of what lies in the corner of the garden beyond.

Gate 4, the Map Gate, Tennyson Street

Departing from the formality of the main gate, this gate is a map that schematically defines the main features of the garden, emphasising the recreational aspects.

The gate frame depicts the existing heritage core and pathways. The four main pockets of the garden are expressed through solid sheet metal lawns, rings for the placement of tree and plant groups and geometric shapes for buildings and activities.

Significant trees are represented in their own ring containing a forged botanical specimen of that tree.

Highlighted are the rose garden, rotunda, playground, glasshouse, cultural centre and pond.


See more images: The Making of St Kilda Botanical Gardens Gates

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