1998 The Urban Forest: Swanston Street North Water Feature

Winning entry for the John Mockridge Fountain Commission Vic, re-titled Swanston Street North Water Feature, with Aspect Landscape Consultants Pty Ltd, and PL Fountains.
(Implementation under review by Melbourne City Council).

The urban forest is inspired by the natural relationship between a stand of Melaleuca ericifolia (Swamp Paperbark) and water. Form and movement have been extracted from the natural forest and expressed in an urban context through the rhythm of metal stems (copper or stainless steel) and their relationship to water.  The sculptural representation of the forest is integrated with the four water cycles:

  • A morning fog rises from the grate floor, intensifying the peacefulness and mystery of the fountain's vertical elements. 
  • Spurting water jets located beneath the grate and throughout the urban forest emphasise the vertical nature of the fountain, providing an opportunity for random or rhythmic water play.
  • 'Wet stems' selected throughout the urban forest provide a glimmering quality along the fountain's length and increase visual depth through the stems.
  • Water rises from the grate and pools at a shallow depth to symbolise the natural processes indicative to many Melaleuca forests, and allows the urban forest to increase its height through reflection.

John Mockridge Fountain model (top)
and concept drawing (above)

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