Acacia Place on gladed bend of the Yarra River in Abbotsford is a mixed use/apartment village comprising three buildings – Eden, Haven and Sanctuary - within a well considered public open space, activated by cafes offices and retail.
In collaboration with Hamton and Rothe Lowman Architects, Tract was instrumental in the initial master planning and authority advocacy for the project.
The project gained authority support due (in part) to the inclusive nature of the design with easy access for all through the development to the banks of the Yarra River. Unlike other apartment developments, Acacia Place places a greater emphasis on shared and activated communal spaces and invites the public in, rather than locking them out.
The design and planning included a concerted effort to bring the Yarra riparian landscape character into the development as well as reinforce pedestrian primacy over cars with shared zones and pedestrian only spaces. The main vehicular drop off loop is designed as a people friendly "garden" piazza with trees, furniture and planters defining the vehicular zone.
Rather than the typical kerbs and bollards. The external spaces were designed to encourage social interaction providing residents with easy opportunity to meet their neighbours. A series of communal roof top gardens include barbecues, dining facilities and spaces for lounging and enjoying the view.
From the outset art was integrated into the masterplanning and Tract were involved in selecting artists from a limited competition, with three major pieces being installed, Daniel Agdag's "The Inspector", Priscilla Bracks "the Light Wall", and Mike Nicholl's "Bird in the Hand".
Urban raingardens have been cleverly integrated into Acacia Place to capture and filter stormwater before it enters the river system.
The palette of materials and planting reflects the transition from the urban environment of Victoria Street to the natural character of the Yarra River corridor. Although the project is located in a dense urban area, it reinforces a bushy, riverine atmosphere.