Woods Bagot has been involved in a community initiative in the Parish of St Canice, Kings Cross, Sydney. Headed by Rob Caslick of the Inside Out Organic Soup Kitchen, the Refugee Garden scheme has seen a rooftop garden blossom with help from the local community, transforming the open-air space into a verdant allotment.
The concept behind the project is to provide people on bridging visas the opportunity to give something back to the local community. The Refugee Garden development was made possible by a crowd-funding scheme which raised $20,000 in 10 days and enabled the employment of four people seeking asylum in Sydney.
Rob Caslick explains: “We discussed the idea of activating the rooftop to engage with those seeking asylum who are living in our local community and to give them a sense of purpose during the time they submit their application for a humanitarian visa and when they are accepted for residency. This can often take up to five years! Five long years of waiting and not being allowed to work.”
The garden is situated atop a daily soup kitchen which hosts an organic ‘Inside Out’ night once a week, during which herbs and vegetables grown on the roof are served to the visitors to the centre.
Woods Bagot worked with PEPO Botanic Design and the wider team to design a rooftop awning that does not affect the views towards a neighbouring church, as well as a BBQ area for visitors with integrated garden beds. Work is due to be completed on this development by the end of the year.
Woods Bagot Project Team: Christiane Hall, Glenda Yiu, Jeremy Giacomini, Milan Bogovac
Landscape Designer: PEPO Botanic Design
Construction Management: Built
Structural Engineer: ARUP
Engineers: Medland Metropolis
Matching Grant: City of Sydney
LED Lighting: Superlight
Landscape Supplies: Elmich
Rainwater Tank: Tankworks
Garden Soil: BarkBlower
Garden Plants: Alpine
Employment Agency: Greenstaff