Melville Senior High School
Botanic brilliance: ‘Life on Earth and Beyond.’ GFE was commissioned by the principal of MSHS to design a space to cater for Year 10 Science students during recess and lunchtime, while providing a practical and inspiration teaching facility during the rest of the day. Extensive consultation with teachers, administrators, parent bodies and students provided relevant information to incorporate into the design. These ideas were formulated into an inspirational design that is now an awe inspiring botanical delight of educational excellence.
An amphitheatre was created to provide an ‘outdoor classroom’ and ‘experimental area’ for use by science students, while large ancient rocks from around Australia are displayed in a contemporary style to provide students in geology with practical sources to observe and record.
The plants are grouped to allow students to study and record their different characteristics and lifecycles. These include pteridophytes (ferns), gymnosperms (conifers), palms and cycads and angiosperms (flowering plants). The plants are also grouped in zones to allow for their specific watering requirements, with the latest in waterwise irrigation and soil amendment products being installed throughout the garden.
A central lawn area provides a place for relaxation and entertainment, surrounded by curved concrete, limestone seats and garden beds. Linking the garden is what is known as the ‘Walk of Time’ path. Here students designed the 400x400mm inserts as part of their coursework at the school and these are used by science classes to illustrate different periods in the development of life as we know it today.
At the end of the ‘Walk of time’ path, two raised lawn areas allow for play, relaxation as well as further seating for different student groups. A curved yellow seat is provided for students to observe others playing handball or ‘four square’.
The ‘Science Courtyard Garden’ at Melville SHS showcases ‘best practice’ in the landscaping of educational facilities in WA.