UrbanStone pavers enliven Curtin University’s bus interchange
The architects behind Curtin University’s new bus interchange say they chose UrbanStone pavers for both practical and aesthetic reasons.
Curtin University’s suburban Bentley campus is in the midst of a dramatic makeover. The goal, as outlined in the Greater Curtin Master Plan, is to transform the current university into a major node of activity, both for students and the wider Perth community.
Stage 1 of the Master Plan includes new academic and residential buildings, a new retail precinct and a major new bus interchange to move students and visitors around the campus and connect them with Greater Perth. Construction of the interchange has recently been completed.
“It is projected that the interchange will accommodate about 130 bus services in peak hour and in excess of 20,000 daily visitors when at full capacity,” says architect Andrew Ainsworth, whose firm, Coniglio Ainsworth Architects, was the lead design consultant for the project.
Because the interchange is of key importance to the Greater Curtin Master Plan, Ainsworth and his team worked closely with landscape architects Place Laboratory to ensure that the landscaping materials selected for the site were just right.
“We set up the material palette for the campus going forward,” says Anna Chauvel from Place Laboratory. “The idea was to devise a cohesive materiality across the whole campus, so that when the university rolls out future projects that might not necessarily be in Greater Curtin, they actually refer back to the same material palette.”
Place Laboratory and Coniglio Ainsworth selected UrbanStone pavers for the interchange and surrounding footpaths. “The general technical criteria for the paving selection was to provide an aesthetically pleasing, durable and slip-resistant finish,” says Ainsworth.
As Chauvel explains, another benefit of using UrbanStone pavers rather than tarmac or other poured materials is their ability to be uprooted as needed. “There’s quite a lot of infrastructure that goes in underneath campus roads, even more than what you’d find in a city context because of all the university’s data requirements,” she says. “That’s why we went with the unit paver: we needed to make sure that the university had flexibility to easily perform maintenance below the surface.”
Place Laboratory collaborated with UrbanStone to develop two colours specifically for the campus pavers. “Curtin has a traditional brick palette, so we decided to juxtapose that with something that was a little bit lighter,” says Chauvel.
Instead of using traditional rectangular-shaped pavers, the team generated a pattern based on the work of architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, who is famous for his geodesic domes. “He devised a geometric solution to creating a circle,” says Chauvel. “There’s a dome building on the campus which was designed using his construction methodology, so we used that as a starting point.”
The resulting geometric pavers fit together neatly. “The consistent diagonal banding allows the pattern to seamlessly flow throughout the campus,” Ainsworth says.