Northcote Civic Square

Location / High Street, Northcote, Melbourne
Client / City of Darebin
Consultants / Steensen Varming, JMP Engineering, Ray Thomas

Based on the City of Darebin’s brief for a civic square with an aboriginal theme, rush\wright’s response to the landscape design is inspired by the shapes, forms and imagery of local indigenous tradition and artefact. With the memory of Rucker’s Hill as a corroboree place in mind and the European neo classical architecture of the Northcote Town Hall and Carnegie Library in sight, the Square hints at the conversation between the traditional cultural orders of the Victorian Aboriginal community and a contemporary society with an inherited colonial history. Now clearing in the suburbs, Northcote Civic Square with its eclectic ensemble of found objects – the intensely vibrant painted surfaces by local indigenous artist, Ray Thomas, an extraordinarily scaled timber stage and the ruin of a stone gathering circle – is an iconographic recognition of ancient lineage and celebrates a respect for people and country.

RWA worked with local indigenous artist Ray Thomas to derive a unique landscape response for all elements of this new civic space. These included timber decking laid in a traditional shield pattern, a stone circle and the integration of a substantial mural by Ray Thomas.