North East Water Headquarters, Wodonga

Client: North East Water
Designed: 2012 - Constructed: 2014


The design of the landscape focuses on creating a 'natural' setting which is relevant to its context and reflects on the previous uses of the site.  

North East Water (NEW) must be a leader in demonstrating the integration of water sensitive design into the overall site planning for the new head quarters in Albury.     NEW proposes to develop a building with 5 green star rating, One Resource water management philosophies and water sensitive urban design.   Therefore the landscape must also aspire to these goals.   

The landscape at the front of the building demonstrates the integrated use of dry detention zones, swales, bio retention zone, shade trees and the use of native vegetation. Excess water from the water retention tanks will be directed along with runoff off the footpaths into the dry retention zone which will then filter the water by removing the chemicals and pollutants. All rain water that falls on the car park will run with the natural fall of the land towards to the swale along the North West fence. This water travels towards the bio retention basin in the Northern corner of the car park.  The water is then collected for reuse. The shade trees throughout the car park will keep the space cooler during the summer, whilst providing human scale to the car parking areas. The central round about featuring upright native trees will act as shade and as a feature for the entry to the site.

Other features throughout the site are the atriums and Zen garden.  Due to the light restrictions, the proposed elements in the atriums have been created with lines and shapes as opposed to the use of plants. Each atrium includes curvaceous lines of a garden bed which will hold large red wood timber poles, representing the existing use of the site, being the Dunstan's Timber Mill, but also to give dimension to the space with the under planting of the tall upright and bold Sansevieria trifasciata - mother in laws tongue. Due to the light restrictions, suitable species are limited as to what can be planted in here.  This design is carried out into the Zen garden which also includes a green wall on the Northern fire wall. 

The combination of all the different landscaped areas will bring the building to life by the use of nature; with native vegetation and shade trees, low care and drought tolerant plantings, the use of recycled rain water and retention zones the North East Water Head Quarter will be an educational tool for water sensitive urban design, illustrating that all water has value and can be used as an integrated landscape element.