The Holland Street Upgrade is a transformative urban initiative that has revitalised a key meeting place along the River Torrens in the heart of Thebarton, South Australia. The result is a vibrant and multi-functional public precinct that showcases the outcome of a holistic design approach that encapsulates urban design, biodiversity, sustainability and creative place-making.
A key philosophy of this project was to rejuvenate this space whilst remaining true to the gritty character unique to the industrial neighbourhood of Thebarton. Bespoke design elements such as custom seating, unique signage and wayfinding elements, contextual artworks and the use of industrial materials, vibrant colours and strong geometry infuse the design and speak to stories of place.
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) was also a major driver of the design. A significant stormwater harvest system is located below the plaza which collects water run-off from paved surfaces and reuses it to provide the majority of the irrigation requirements to the plaza and surrounding streetscape. The incorporation of additional planting beds throughout the plaza and streetscape also assists in improving biodiversity, reducing urban heat, and improves the vitality of this public plaza.
The Holland Street Upgrade focuses on improving the user experience, prioritising pedestrian and cyclist movement to create a safe thoroughfare that supports active and connected communities. The plaza has been designed to be flexible and multi-purpose, creating a valuable space that can cater for community events and markets. The plaza also becomes animated and activated at night with integrated lighting incorporated into the design to promote use in the evenings.
This upgrade has injected colour, life and energy into what was once an underutilised street. Now a key meeting place along the River Torrens, the Holland Street Upgrade has provided significant social and economic benefits to the immediate surrounds with a marked increase in public activity and a new café tenancy opening adjacent the plaza. This design is a testament to how collaborative efforts and a fusion of history, functionality, and sustainability, can positively impact a neighbourhood and create a stronger sense of community.
Landscape Architecture: JPE Design Studio
Other designers involved in the design of the landscape:
• Client: City of West Torrens
• Builder: BluBuilt
• Subconsultant Team: MLEI, DesignFlow, Diadem
Project Location: Holland Street, Thebarton, South Australia
Year completed: August 2018
Photo credits: Sam Noonan