Victorian exotica meets contemporary landscape design

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Creating the lush landscape of George + Powlett would not have been possible without the collective efforts and vision of Myles Baldwin Design, Powell & Glenn and ICON Developments. Here, Myles Baldwin shares the story behind the unique partnership and the inspiration behind his incredible design.

What was the look or style you were trying to achieve at George + Powlett?

When designing the landscape for George + Powlett, I was inspired by the surrounding parks of East Melbourne and the historic architecture that occupies the area. We selected climbers, palm trees, ginger and old world shrubs to reference the Victorian-era and the surrounding parks in East Melbourne that were created around the mid-late 1800’s.

In doing so, we wanted to create a balance between contemporary landscape design and the exotica-style of the Victorian era, creating a landscape that was befitting of George + Powlett’s timeless style and East Melbourne’s rich natural history.

What was the inspiration behind the landscape design? How did you collaborate with Powell & Glenn to achieve this?

Landscaping has a symbolic relationship with architecture. It’s an important feature of any high-quality design and provides the setting in which architecture exists. Our collaboration with ICON and Powell & Glenn was a complete partnership; we worked incredibly close with the team throughout the entire process.

We decided to focus on incorporating as much greenery as possible in the built form, contrasting the natural landscape with the architecture of George + Powlett. The moment you enter George + Powlett you’re immersed in the natural world. As you move through the building, you’re moving towards the natural light and greenery at the same time. Both ICON and Powell & Glenn were incredible to collaborate with, and they were supportive of our decision to include more greenery in the landscape.

What is your favourite feature? Is there an aspect that particularly stands out?

To ensure the natural landscape was incorporated in the design of George + Powlett we created a dripping greenery effect through installing deep planters. The street front planter is one of my favourite features of the landscape, as this provides a green wall to the lower ground apartments.

The ground floor apartments are quite interesting. They were designed to be slightly below street level and therefore we obtained a planting allowance that created a one-metre perimeter between the landscape and the street. This gives the apartments on the lower ground floor privacy, it’s really quite clever. George + Powlett is definitely one of the most interesting apartments I’ve designed.

Why is landscaping an important feature of any high-quality design?

Studies have shown that a well-maintained landscape has a lasting, positive effect on the well-being of not only the residents but on the surrounding area. It is also key in supporting and establishing the setting of architectural design.

How closely did you work with the architects to design the landscape?

We worked fairly intimately with the team at Powell & Glenn, not only on the natural aesthetics but also on the engineering of the overall design. There were a lot of complications throughout the process as the landscape of George + Powlett is dependent on a heavy layer of greenery.

Technology came in handy when we were planting the material, as the land is incredibly narrow. Everything in the landscape is integrated into the architecture, with significant plantings at the front of the building.