Exploring the unique landscape features of CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park

In celebration of #WorldEnviornmentDay and this year’s theme of #GenerationRestoration, we sat down with Erwin Taal and Warwick Savvas from ASPECT Studios to explore the unique landscape design which is set to surround CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park.  

In collaboration with international design practice Snøhetta and NH Architecture, ASPECT Studios have been involved in the landscape design of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP) precinct throughout the 10-year Melbourne Park Redevelopment journey, with their latest instalment planted and ready to flourish.  

Landscape Inspiration  

The uniqueness of the precinct lies in our location; a series of architecturally advanced buildings, nestled in a park-like setting – an urban ecosystem.  

“CENTREPIECE is situated between the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Melbourne CBD, so there is a plethora of landscape influences that have been drawn upon in the overall design development,” said Taal.  

“It was extremely important that the underlying concept maintained M&OP’s status as an active precinct, focused on recreation and entertainment, but also providing enjoyment for the people of Victoria.  

“We (the team of Snøhetta and ASPECT Studios) were largely inspired by Melbourne and how the city provides topography you can use, such as the banks of Birrarung Marr or the grass forecourt at the State Library. These are places that provide flowing gradient levels and are functional for visitors and spectators.” 

Design Philosophy  

The design philosophy of the precinct was focused on making an engaging, inviting and occupiable landscape experience, both for formal events and casual use, that completed the link between the contemporary CBD landscapes and the more traditional botanical parks and gardens along the Yarra River.  

Taal explains that consideration went into the placement, of topography, seating, garden beds, tree locations and grassed areas, to ensure the landscape design was in sync with the overall vision of the precinct. 

“Our approach to connect the landscape design of CENTREPIECE with the rest of the precinct was to create an overhead canopy of native Corymbia and Eucalyptus species that will be adored by future generations,” Taal said. 

“Over time, guests and visitors will increasingly enjoy a beautiful tree canopy of dappled light and shade and experience all the scents and textures the contemporary Australian landscape embodies.   

“There is a lot of movement of people and vehicles, areas for queuing, event bump-in and bump-out, so a lot of the design has been considered at a both functional and operational level, while still servicing the aesthetic of the venues and enhancing the guest experience.”   

Horticulture Selection 

The Australian summer and microclimate conditions played a key role in the horticulture selection. 

With the Australian Open serving as a peak time for the precinct in the warmer months, the selection of horticulture considered effective shade for guests as well as species that work in conjunction with the climate, like lemon-scented gums that regulate the summer heat.  

“There are over 26 species that will feature in the landscape. These are predominantly Australian natives that have been selected based on several flowering varieties, colours and characteristics, but also leaf colours, textures, shapes, and sizes,” Savvas said.  

“There is a real variety for guests to experience that provides a contemporary, Australian horticulture display, that is inherently linked to the rest of the precinct.”    

While the horticulture selection considers the guest experience, there has also been a strong focus on creating parklands that add to the city’s growing urban ecosystem that can be enjoyed overtime.   

“A lot of the (landscape) magic happens out of the sight of the visitor – the placement of the horticulture selection and tree canopies have been designed to transcend through time for future generations to enjoy for years to come,” Savvas added. 

Sustainability Conscious 

With sustainability at the fore of CENTREPIECE’s philosophy, it’s hard to find another venue in Melbourne quite like it.  

As a precinct, we are proud to have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold ®certification for many of our iconic venues and look forward to adding CENTREPIECE to the list. LEED certification allows us to host healthier, contemporary, and innovative guest experiences by reducing the pressure on our environment and encouraging an energy and resource efficient approach to events.   

Energy efficient lighting, mechanical systems and double glazing are just some of the ways our venue is pioneering a new era of sustainability.   

Additionally, our venue is connected to the precinct’s underground 4.5 mega litre stormwater retention tank, a system that recycles the water for toilet flushing and irrigating the precinct’s open green spaces, while the roof of CENTREPIECE features solar panels to drive renewable energy production, reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint.  

Surrounded by the world’s best venues across sports, music, business and entertainment, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park will complete the thriving Melbourne & Olympic Parks precinct, bringing any occasion to life in Melbourne’s most versatile, state-of-the-art venue. Learn more at or contact [email protected].