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Willunga Township’s Mainstreet

We are delighted to have recently received the 2018 Australian Institute of Landscape Architects-SA Award of Excellence for Cultural Heritage as well as an Urban Design Award for this collaborative Willunga Mainstreet project with WAX Design.

For us this project illustrates a number of key ways of re-imagining the design process for redevelopment and upgrade of urban settings with a highly defined character: using story-telling as the main design driver where the place is considered a form of museum/gallery, and with an emphasis on repair rather than replacement—allowing the street to speak for itself.

The project celebrates Willunga as a community with a continuing history—both Aboriginal and European.  Along the street you encounter various elements that hold fragments of stories, quotes from oral histories or artworks hinting to Willunga’s histories of place, people and industries: the slate, almond and later wine industries, as part of Kaurna country, and being the first surveyed and established town outside of the Adelaide.

The design approach uses the heritage buildings as elements that have ‘pools of influence’ and act as markers that set up a rhythm along the street. Stories and the crafted elements are centred about the many significant buildings—within pavement inlays, hand-formed kerbs and custom street furniture such as street bins, bike racks and seating. Materials, embedded artefacts and emblems reference Willunga’s local traditions: slate, the almond and later wine industries, and as part of Kaurna country, the railway and Gunter’s survey chain—with links and chain measures used in the placement and sizing of streetscape elements as well as in the graphics.

Materials and trades for the project were sourced within 50km of the township where possible.  Slate used in footpaths, tree pits, kerbing, walls and public art was sourced from Willunga Slate Quarry; brick paving from Littlehampton, concrete from Victor Harbor and timber from local suppliers.

Photographer: Dan Shultz-Sweet Lime Studio