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LA POK ESCAPES - Unreal Milieu Sam Steenholdt S3055389 Project B 2011 Landscape Architecture RMIT University

LA POK ESCAPES - Unreal Milieu How can an approach to Landscape Architecture be developed from my practice of La Pok?

Sam Steenholdt S3055389 Project B 2011 Landscape Architecture RMIT University

Contents Abstract




Precedent - Claude Cormier


Design projects

Pok O Rama

10 - 17

Magic Lantern

18 - 23

Pok Planters

24 - 31

Reuse Planter

32 - 35

Lost Lives at Desk Memorial

36 - 49

Precedent - Tony Heywood

50 - 51


52 - 63

64 - 85

Scenic Route


86 - 87



LA POK ESCAPES - Unreal Milieu How can the approach of La Pok Art be translated into the practice of Landscape Architecture? Abstract

Introduction 7

Through my practice of La Pok, an abstract art-practice, I am challenging pre-conceived notions of how our environments should look, what they can be made of and where they can be. I aim to create urban interventions that provide an alternative perception of the spaces we inhabit with the intention to broaden the scope of possibility in the urban environment. The testing of this research is focused predominately the CBD of Melbourne. As I make my way around the streets of Melbourne I am always on the lookout for a surprise; a strange circumstance that juxtaposes the colour and subject of our cities makeup. These urban occurrences displaying acts of self expression leave a mark on my day. The innovative use of everyday materials and different ways to engage in our urban environment inspires me as an artist and a landscape architecture student. Their existence arouses the imagination and provokes us to question our perception of public space and the city aesthetics of which we accept. This project is a response to the contemporary urban condition I live in and the restricted role vegetation, colour and pattern play in our landscape. This situation is a result of a systematic dress code applied to Melbourne’s streets. I began attending to these concerns through my established artistic style of La Pok as a means of creating an alternate experience in the urban fabric.

The work of La Pok is often very bold with highly contrasting colours and textures. Adjacency of varying patterns in addition to colours can create a visually intense result, but this is combated through an overall composition of a work. Interpreting a Pokscape it is easy to recognise pictorial elements such as the hills or the sky, but their representation is unreal. It is this obscure depiction of reality that I wish to translate into my La Pok Escapes. Seducing viewers through familiarity of materials, spaces or memories, presented in an irregular way to alter people’s perception of an environment. The research seeks out precedent projects that rebel against preconceived ideas of what our landscapes should look like. In this research I am associating my position with the likes of conceptual Landscape Architects like Claude Cormier, who states, “We want to wake up our audiences and make them take a fresh look at their surroundings. Our work may be artificial, but is anything but fake” (Cormier, 2011 [Online]). Building upon this position I have been experimenting with synthetic materials in conjunction with vegetation to achieve highly contrasting colours, and forms, accentuating that of the selected vegetation. The result of this merging of synthetic and natural encourages viewers to question what is real and what is not. Through the exploration of a mixed medium approach to landscape composition, I have begun establishing my future practice as a Landscape Architect in my quest to create La Pok Escapes.

The method of research I have used to produce this information on the approach of La Pok is through building installations, documenting the process of creation and then recording effect the insertions have on the landscape. The critical analysis of each insertion has allowed one project to inform the next. The criteria for the following projects have differed according to site and the intention of each individual work. The outcome of this research method has resulted in a variety of different installations placed into the public realm. A common thread throughout the work is the ambition to create an element of surprise or delight on the observer, encouraging a momentary escape. I understand an escape as an act of obtaining temporary freedom from worry, care, or unpleasantness. This is achieved through a playful approach to urban greening, in conjunction with bright colours and vivid patterning, juxtaposing generic the existing blue stone and Brunswick green street scape treatment of Melbourne. The destination of the Escape can be a place that you physically inhabit or alternatively be a mindscape, a departure point for the imagination. An underlining intention of these interventions is to demonstrate to others the versatility of vegetation

and the unusual conditions that they can grow in. By altering people’s opinion about where vegetation can be, I hope to promote others to actively insert plants into the urban environment. To target everybody that uses these spaces is an unreasonable ambition, but by expanding the public’s interest in the topic through witnessing these installations, I hope to therefore appeal to a greater audience. As my work has become more site specific through each project, what I am responding to has become more evident. Through this critical analysis my audience has expanded from the general public to those responsible for current practice of Melbourne’s street scape treatment.





Claude Cormier

PERGOLA, Le Havre City Hall, France, 2006

A precedent that provokes the imagination and distorts reality is “Pergola” an installation by Landscape Architect Claude Cormier.

The effect of this is that some people might not even realise this is artifical, alternatively it will make people take a second look at the work.

What I find most interesting about this work is the mixed medium approach when designing with vegetation. The installation is a replication of the organic form of a Wisteria in blossom created with plastic balls. This visual imagery references prior relationships viewers have with this vine in flower.

Cormiers states: “We want to wake up our audiences and make them take a fresh look at their surroundings. Our work may be artificial, but is anything but fake” (Cormier, 2011 [Online]).

Sainte-Catherine Street East, Montreal, Canada 2011

Another project by Cormier envolves 170,000 pink balls strung along 1.2 km of Saint Catherine st in Montreal. This instalation totally alters the experience of the steet, adding colour and movment. The use of pink contrasts well against the green of the st trees and the grey of the ground surface.

“We want to translate each unique situation into a bold and pleasurable design that will connect with people physically, sensually, and playfully. (Cormier, 2011 [Online]).

Pok O Rama Spatializing La Pok for the Landscape.



Beginning the process of understanding how to translate the approach of La Pok into Landscape Architecture I started by literally extruding previous scenes I had painted into 3d diorama’s. I called these works “Pok O Rama’s of “Pok Visions” translated in Greek. These visions enabled me to understand spatial qualities each scene held. Doing so I was able to establishing what elements can be transferred into landscape materials. Having consistency in spatial parameters of boxed environment enabled me to test multiple techniques of eluding that the space was something other then a box. This lead me to an interest in Tromp l’œil and techniques of spatial illusions. Where this project failed in become a Landscape Architecture work was the fact that these design where not created for a particular site nor did they have a specific audience. The also had no vegetation, which is an element that I wished be dominate in La Pok Escapes. Another critique was that forms and patterns used are from previous work and had not been developed for each particular space.

Deck Chair Po O Rama

Deck Chair Pok O Rama The main driver for this work was to have the landscape move flowingly from the ground plan to the background then up onto the ceiling of the box. Offsetting the orange piped frame in the sky from background has helped achieved this depth in the work. This is shown in section left.

Imaged sourced from

Placing a platform at the front of the work also helped create great depth in this space. This space would work well translated into a café courtyard or even a skate ramp. Although it would be obvious of the spatial arrangement of the scene, I believe at a large scale ones imagination might give in to this trickery Scene section

Pok O Rama inspiration.

Court Yard

Skate Ramp

Elephant Land Pok O Rama To elude the space was something other then a box. I went about this by staggering the planes to create a depth of field. I then continued the background onto the sky above, disguising the transition from the wall to the ceiling. The use of brighter colour towards the back of the scene and grey on the side walls has also helped lead the eye through the space adding to the desired effect of depth.



Having completed this iteration I then questioned what kind of space this could be. The feeling of this work was of an open grassed area with rocks behind, for this reason I have chosen to translate this work into a park area beside Merri Creek. To some this area surrounded by residential suburbs is perceived as a ‘natural’ environment. It has indeed been reclaimed in an attempt to rehabilitate the site with indigenous vegetation to display what it could have been prior to white settlement. These actions in my opinion reveal that this is indeed an artificial landscape. There fore by adding to this site with abstract formations I suspect other people might realize the artificiality of this area. Altering the perspective viewers have on of the reserve.

Pok O Rama’s are 600 X 370 X 200mm Pok O Rama inspiration.

Pok O Rama’s are 600 X 370 X 200mm

Merri Creek Concept Collage

Laneway Pok O Rama

The framing properties of this work lend this rock formation to by translated into a Laneway situation, welcoming users into this strange circumstance. By simply painting a bright ground plan over the existing, this rigidity of this environment begins to be distorted. The effect on the landscape would result in an unreal oasis amidst a predictable world, much like a heavily coloured in lane of murals and stickups by street artist. 15 POK O RAMA


Pok O Rama inspiration.

I have selected Spider Plant (Cholorphytum Comosum) to use as it is hardy, will tolerate shade and moderate sun. They will also respond well to being hung upside down, due to their drooping nature. A hole around 30mm in diameter is made in the bottom. The roots of the plant is then stuffed up through the hole and spread out on the bottom. Soil is then added to hold the plant in place. Having the top of the tin exposed allows for enough rainwater catchment for the plants. Thinking about how I could create a similar effect in a laneway site, I built an unreal vine. This was made from dog food can’s strung along a wire with Spider plants growing through the bottom.

Pok O Rama Structure Scene


Background Pattern

Pok Man

Pok O Rama inspiration.

The Section diagram left shows planes of content.

Structure Scene Pok O Rama



When drawing the inspiration works for this Pok O Rama I imagined the varying shapes as bridges and the background the sky, as if looking up through them. When this work was translated into a Pok O Rama it took on a vertical format instead of a horizontal. These shapes turned from bridges to structural beams and uprights. What I like best about this work is that it to me represents an interior and is more abstracted then my previous representations of exterior scenarios. The spatial arrangement’s of this scene reminds me of a building foyer, with its large beams and architectural form. If one was to scale the scene off the pok man (image below), it would also become an interactive space to navigate.

Magic Lantern - Vertical Garden Shop front - Brunswick st



I was commissioned to design a green wall on the facade of Magic Lantern shop on Brunswick st, Fitzroy. Magic Lantern sells puppets and little theaters. The owners of the shop Lucy and Gonzalo said that there window garden brings a lot of interest into the shop. I saw this as an opportunity bring the concept of the window garden, with its plants and little scenes onto the exterior wall. Doing so I would also be able to test ideas techniques acquired in the making of the Pok O rams and place this in the public realm. Pok O Rama Design for others Public Realm Plants in Poks

Magic Lantern Area shaded in green is the space I can use for the vertical garden.

Design Concept Two

Design Concept One

A ladder framework will be installed on each side of the window. A box holding a little scene will sit in each space of the ladder. The scenes are then linked together by little ladders, similar to the levels of Donkey Kong.

The second idea is to create a maze over the facade and have the little scenes on the middle of each column. Little characters could then travel around the maze and more scenes created within.

Donkey Kong

Window Garden

The problem with this is that people will try and climb the ladders. The issue of scenes getting stolen or vandalized is another problem to resolve.

The skirting above demonstrates the different materials used to create a vegetative maze with paths.



Objects in scene are made from coreflute and sprayed with clear acrylic to strengthen paint

Once in the street scape I can image that the bright colours in the scene’s will lure the passes eye. I think the observer will be surprised when they discover strangely proportioned plants inside.

Proposed Design Developing the ladder scene concept, columns would run down either side of the shop. The scenes would feature between 600mm from the top and800mm from the ground so scenes would be at eye height. This concept took the concept behind the window garden and made it into a product that could be sold. The individual scenes would sit in a shelf behind a door, so works could not be vandalized or stolen.

The boxes are made from old pallets found on the side of the road.

When sold, boxes where going to be framed in a similar style to the existing sign of the shop. This idea was later dismissed and we focused on continuing the sign’s aesthetic down the columns instead.

Plants not yet installed

Made by Gonzalo


Stage of construction 14 box’s have been made using pallets for the frame and 3m marine ply for the backing. The remanding boxes are being created by the store owners Lucy and Gonzalo, as well as a number of other artist.

22 Fitting frame to warped wall

Understanding scale on site

Building doors

Research Criteria

- Plants in a Poks -

- Transfer of Pok O Ram a -

Once installed I will be able to examine the reaction of people through: - Sales of product. - documentation of Interaction (film/photograph) - engagement (will things be added) - Interview users.

- Did you notice the mini landscapes?

- Did a scene remind you of a space that you have experienced?

- Did this experience alter your perception of the mini landscapes context?

- Pok in Public Realm Perspex installed in doors

Testing colours of new column, with existing.

Undercoat of Column

Initial motif

New column meets old sign.


Construction of the wall units has been completed. I am now waiting for Gonzalo to finish painting the details on the columns. Installation of the columns can then be commenced

Pok Head Planter The next project I delved into was the “Pok Head� hanging gardens. This was a response to both the lack of mixed medium materials and narrative I had previously seen in Vertical Gardens. Whilst displaying to other the versatility vegetation in the urban environment. My ambition was to merge my process of La Pok into my Landscape architecture practice.

Second Tank holds 3000 liters. Water from here is pumped up to first tank reticulated through the self sustaining system through vertical garden.

The starting point of this project was revisiting another project I had previously designed at uni shown in the image right and sections on opposite page. I scaled down version and altered the self watering system.



Zig zag platform holding soil profile in place, whilst allowing for irrigation and drainage throughout.

Hatched area on face displays designated beds for selected vegetation Acacia Cognate.

They can tolerate Melbourne summer heat and have the characteristics to intertwine with each other, creating a reasonably flat surface of vegetation.

Main drivers

Pok O Rama

- Responding to current trends of Vertical garden, which I see as being able to offer more visually, though mixed medium and narrative. - Merging synthetic materials with vegetation. - Install La Pok into the public Realm.

Magic Lantern Public Realm Plants in Poks

Synthetic + Vegetation

Design for others

Research Criteria - Gage public reaction. - Effect on Landscape - Test self watering system - Test planting technique




Vertical Garden

Planter Stainless steal frame holds fabric and soil on the wall, as well as bracing the structure.

Steal frame holds fabric and soil on the wall, as well as bracing the structure. This Adidas advertisement is a great example of a vertical garden with narrative, that has synthetic materials visually present to achieve desired outcome.

SCALE 1:100

Planter Test - A Rainwater is caught on the roof or the box and on the yellow corrugated plastic sheeting. This water is then directed towards the back of the soil profile. Holes where then drilled into the corrugated plastic to allow some water to pass through, falling on the front of the planter.



A zig zag system are polystyrene strips put in place to direct and catch water inside the soil profile. A mix of Smaller polystyrene pieces and potting mix make up the soil profile, to reduce the weight of the garden. Once the soil is installed in the planter a fly wire mesh is placed over the front of the box, followed by a wire mesh. This is kept in place by a timber frame that doubles as part of the face. To achieve the form of the manic mask, orange rope was used. This material was selected as it was light, bright, and would last a long time exposed to the weather. Once the structure was complete, holes where cut into the fly wire mesh and succulents where pushed through. I have asked one of the occupants of the house hanging the work, a few questions; Has the Pok Head Planter affected your experience of living there? Has it changed your perspective of the front of your house or the street? Have other people reacted to it in anyway? Kate replied:

“The installation looks fantastic. It has really improved the look of the rather bland house exterior. It certainly makes a real Fitzroy statement. People are constantly stopping and looking at it. They have stopped Darrel and I as we have left the house to ask what it is, and where we got it from. They are quite amazed at how it all works when we explain. Several have suggested including contact details on the bottom.


92mm 190mm

Feedback from all the neighbors has been equally positive.� We love it!

Looking at the same work about three week's later I was surprised to see how well the cactus and succulents have established already. Not only are they looking healthier, but they have already began the process of phototropism, which is when a plant corrects its position in accordance to the sunlight.


29 Waterproofing

Rainwater Catchment POK HEAD PLANTER

Fame work

Planter Test - A

Planter Test - A

Front Layer secured last to hold contents and netting in

Teeth secured from behind

640mm 190mm


920mm 100mm 640mm Cactus installed using tongs

Planter Test - C - Process of creation.

Succulents and Cactus on hand at home.

Polystyrene pieces reduce weight of planter



What effect do these works have on the users of their urban environment? Through these iterations I began to develop the works, making them bigger and lighter. But I felt I wasn’t learning, “how can the approach La Pok offer an alternative experience through landscape architecture?” It wasn’t until I installed the pok heads into the street that I could see the effects they had on environments. To those who use these sites the effect was of surprise. The surprise was seeing something unusual that existed in a familiar environment. Surprise makes you smile. With this in mind I realized in a sense I was designing for wellbeing. The playful use of plants out of context and bright colours were some of the factors that helped achieved this.



Previously made recycled planters

Boom box Revisited Perhaps I was designing for wellbeing, but I still didn’t understand what my approach was. I knew I was working with materials that I had found, bar some of the paint and succulents that I had propagated at home. This material selection was a display of urban vernacular. When showing these Pok Heads and reflecting on recycled planters I had made in the past, the attention was more so then not directed back to the planter Boom Box. What was it about this work in particular that people could read a correlation between my approach as an artist and how this translated this approach into the practice of landscape architecture? A Boom Box challenges ideas of public and private space as one can pump out music in a place that dose not belong to the user. For these reasons the boom box has become an icon of street culture, representing a freedom of expression and movement. It function of playing music is inherent to fun and playfulness.

Although this Boom Box is in a fixed position and does not play music anymore, viewers still have an existing relationship or understanding with this icon. It still questions ideas of public and private as I have installed the work into a public area on a private wall and retains a sense of fun as I have inserted plants into the radio shell in a playful manner. Analyzing this it seems that it is the existing relationship that people have with the Boom Box that makes people respond to it more so then the Pok Head planters. What I can learn from this is that through careful selection of materials associated with the urban vernacular I can assume that people will automatically have a relationship or heightened reaction to the installation. As spatial designer what I can learn from this is how a small intervention can change the perception of a large space. This has been an important realization for me as this affirms I have felt that what I am doing is not Landscape architecture as it is to small, when in fact these small interventions help redesign its larger context.

What is it about the Boom Box that Translates to Landscape Architecture?

Printer Garden

Toaster Garden 35

Building on this idea of using objects people have existing relationships with to create better responses from the public I built a printer garden and a toaster garden.

In an attempt to create a stronger link to this insertions context I placed the printer beside a printer shop. Understanding that printing can be very stressful, I am hoping that this installation effects this experience in a positive way.

The toaster garden was placed in Degraves St. An area associated with breakfast. The positioning of this object was chosen to create a link with the toaster gardens previous function as well as adding vegetation in an area of none.



Lost Lives at the Desk Memorial This work is a statement portraying my desire to work in the industry of landscape architecture, whilst not being confined to a world behind a computer.



This aspiration for an alternative experience in the landscape is driven by an understanding of the haptic sensation’s I enjoy in my daily life, being touched by sun and the wind, seeing trees move, hearing birds calling. It seems the outside offers a much more interactive space then static environment of a building. In correlation to a on Haptic perception, “the merging of sensory information is beneficial in that it can speed reactions, reduce perceptual ambiguity and make perceptual judgments more precise”. (Helbig & Ernst). If this is so then it doesn’t make sense to design in a sterile office environment.

Conducive to Creativity?

Acknowledging the fundamental reasons for why we work in these environments, I have decided to bring some of the sensory experiences associated with the outside, into a workspace. For this reason I propose to install vegetation into this conceptual workspace, creating a more tactile sensorial experience whilst behind a computer. This alternate experience of a desk and computer setup with vegetation signifies our need as humans to be in contact with “nature” and not living a synthetic lifestyle. This work also comments on the limited use vegetation can play in our field of design. As Landscape architects we have the opportunity to use the most highly developed and diverse material on earth “vegetation”, but the use of this material is often overshadowed due to our design process through computers.

Can a small installation change a users Perception of its larger context?


How will people respond

Leading from these discoveries of cognition from previous response to installation tests, I can now begin to make educated assumptions based on the cognition of prior experiences to draw correlations from existing personal relationships with objects in our society and Pok installations.

The majority of materials that I have used have come from hard waste. This annual affair in our suburbs will undoubtable work in favor of my installation as it is not uncommon to see random pieces of furniture placed out of context in our urban environment.

Through this understanding of existing relationships with objects and spaces I was able to select a site for this installation. This prior experience is explained in my letter to site on page 62.

I predict that people will make a correlation between my installation and the objects that are currently waiting patently around the streets, much like I did a few years ago when I came across this display of monitors in discussion.

Design Intention

- Provoke people to question the environment that they work and live in. - Increasing a more tactile experience in the workplace. - Adding colourful synthetic materials with vegetation. - Psychological benefits of plants in everyday spaces. - Using recycled materials. - Finding site through prior memory.

Someone response to hard waste , two years prior.

Pok O Rama Magic Lantern Public Realm Plants in Poks Design for others

Adding Colour with synthetics Vertical Garden

Pok Head Planter

Work station provoking imagination.

Cognitive memory Work station concept sketch

Lost Lives at desk Memorial


Project Concept

Site Section

A A Section with accompanying images shows terrain and vegetation across reserve.


N Merri Creek

Panorama looking north

Section AA

Scale 1:750











Transformation process of Computer and desk in my backyard.

Process of Creation

Although the conceptual design of this installation was completed before undertaking construction, it was through the process of creation that the final design emerged. Prepare






Like any design one must start somewhere. If I was go through this process again, the result would be different, but the approach and process would alternately be the same. This is due to the visual guidelines I undertake in applying the La Pok aesthetic. Responding to colour adjacency , pattern, , balance, narrative etc.

Memorial Garden Installed



“Lives lost behind a Desk” memorial on site.

As the installation is raised above its surroundings, the work automatically achieves a hierarchy over its context. 46


By placing this desk installation on a concrete box, rather then on the grass, the eye of the viewer is more likely to recognize the work station. According to the reading “Open Spaces”, “giving form reduces the amount of individual pieces of information to be absorbed, Thus have our mind clear for additional information” (Loidi & Bernard, 2000). In this case this additional information is the installation.

Forming means reacting to connections and creating them. Now that the work station is easily distinguished from its surroundings, the user can then to make out the components of the installation and began to unpack what it is that they see. It is this process of recognition that has inspired me to paint the work. As if I had not, it would be much easier to comprehend, that this is a

desk with a computer on top, filled with plants. If this was as easily recognized it would certainly create less interest by passes by. k



e re ri C


Concrete path

Informal path


Scale 1:300

Visual Hierarchy


The installation has been up for 4 mths now and is still standing. This in itself is a positive response from the public. Speaking to people about the project there have been mixed responses. Some have been concerned that it will be damaged, some concerned that when damaged will spread a plague of cactus’s down Merri Creek others asked if my kids had made it. Some people climbed up onto it, whilst other walked right past. Someone removed prickly cactus from the work. I believe this was an act to prevent kids touching cactus as they where singled out and cut clean with an sharp object. The end result is certainly open to interpretation of its meaning. I hope at least a few people understand what the work is intended to express, without being prompt. If was to give additional information regarding the instillations intention, I feel it would detract from the work. All in all the fact that it is open to interpretation, makes this work a departure point for viewers imagination, which is why I put work’s into the public realm in the first place. Finding a write up on the memorial in the local paper was a great outcome. The most interesting response in this article was that its about the end of the world where computers are redundant and nature takes over. The one major criticism of this work is that it couldn’t be used as a work station. If I had a chair in the installation, viewers would be encourage to interact with the work more and sit amongst the colours and plants. This will certainly have a stronger effect on users opinion of the work and their perception of the artificial surrounding context.




Precedent - Tony Heywood

There are two main attributes Heywood demonstrates, of which I wish to build from in my own research. That is his positioning between fine arts and garden design. As well as his ability to bring colour into his landscapes through obscure material selection.



Wanting to scale up my work I have looked a Tony Heywood, who positioning himself between a conceptual artist and a landscape designer. Heywood creates landscape installation starting at botanical miniatures to large scale public outdoor works. “I see the works I create as mindscapes as much as landscapes�, (Richardson, 2004) he explains. Heywoods sculptural scenes are representative of worlds where the human mind meets ideals of landscape. As the majority of Heywoods work is inhabitable physically, his installations encourage the imagination of the viewer to situate themselves in the spaces. Partial Materials list: Broken glass Steel wool Titanium sheeting Black plastic Tin Variety of crushed rock and pebbles Images sourced:

The Happining

APokAFari - “Scene One” Basement Window Well - Mindscape Donkey Wheel House - 673 Bourke St



This work ApokAfari is a mind-scape, a place that you can not physically inhabit, but a departure point for the imagination, promoting viewers to escape into their own Pok world dream. The intention of this work is to test techniques of how to add colour into the landscape, using a mixed medium approach to garden design. Experimenting with synthetic materials in conjunction with vegetation to achieve highly contrasting colours, and forms with the intention to accentuating that of the selected vegetation. The result of this merging of synthetic and natural encourages viewers to question what is real and what is not.




Addressing this site, I thought about what opportunities this window bay could have in altering the experience of being in the basement. As the work was viewed through a window frame, the space already had properties of a Tromp l’œil. The walls of the well are much larger then the base, of which I intended to create the most focus. For this reason I needed to design a backdrop that worked to situated the mindscape, but not lead the eye astray.

Image sourced: http://

Site window well

Material Selection


To create a mini landscape I approached my plant selection the same as I would a normal garden, looking for a variety of different scales, from grasses or ground covers, to shrubs then trees. All of which had to look like a scaled down version of a life-size specimen. I was also looking for interesting colours and shapes.

I restricted myself to predominately succulents as I knew they would remain relatively the same as once I had cut there roots back to get them into the shallow planter. As the space doesn’t get any direct light, if the work was to be permanent then I would have selected different plants, but for the 10 day period of the show they would be fine.


Understanding that part of the approach of La Pok is to make use of materials I already have or find, I began this process by making a possible material list. The requirements for these materials where that they are water resistant and bright in colour.

Plant Selection

Modular System The planter box was split up into five containers. I did this as the larger planter containing the 5 had to go on its side to be installed in the window well. I also wanted plants to establilsh before the show and cut down instalation time. Having the garden split into five areas then informed the final design.



Concept Sketches

Selected Design



Background Inspiration

How to merge 3 panels

Lighting Test and Outcome

Backdrop Development As the installation is behind a window I couldn’t light the mind-scape from inside the gallery as it would reflect on the glass. For this reason I began testing options for portable lights placed inside the work. In this test below I used Led lights and a Tiki touch.

The material I used for the backdrop is coreflute. I selected this as it is bend’s easierly and waterproof. To merge the three panels together I made the centre panel a Feature, that trimmed to shape. This middle panel then sat over the ones either side.

Once the work was installed I ended up using 9 led lights or different colours around the mindscape (shown above). Highlighting colours created more depth and contrast, through shadowing. This also helped to create focal points in the composition.

Making Backdrop

Lighting Experiments

Tiki touch.

Led light



Plant List

Sedum mexicanum (golden mound) Sedum rubrotinctum “Aura” (Jelly Bean) Haworthia attenuate (Zibra Plant) Crassula arborescens (blue jade) Crassula ovata (oval Leaf Jade) Euphorbia tiruralli Echinopsis pachanoi Sedum acres Rhipsalis pilocarpa Portulacaria coral jade Crassula arborescens ssp undulatifolius (short blue jade) Sagina subulata ‘Verna

Link to the Street Leading the work out of the gallery and into the urban fabric I installed a hanging garden above the mind scape in the lane above. This was to firstly to lead people above the window bay so they looked down from the lane onto the mindscape. This was also an attempt to help people make a correlation between other works I have installed in the street and my work in the gallery.

To date I think this has been my most successful project this year in my research into how to translate La Pok into Landscape Architecture. People responded very well to the work and where very exited to here I was a Landscape Architecture student, as they could envisage these ideas on a larger scale. I also believe that through witnessing this work, other might question the colour and materiality of there own garden. 63

Donkey Wheel House

Bus Projects Gallery




Scenic Route Laneway Park - Pedestrian thoroughfare between little Latrobe and LaTrobe St


At night the space is heavily lit from the east wall, in an attempt to make this a safe space to walk through.

West Wall

Scale 1:500

There are four Carpinus japonica trees running along the middle of this thoroughfare. These trees seem to have been a good choice, as they are cold climate trees that grow in the shady forests of Japan. Unfortunately, a lack of soil profile and water has impeded on their growth and health. Redesigning the space I am face with the question of wither to remove the existing trees or create a better growing environment for them to flourish.

View from LaTrobe St

View from Little LaTrobe St

East Wall Swanston St

Little LaTrobe St

Elizabeth St

Scale 1:500



This corridor is currently designed for minimal occupation. Its main function is to get people from Lt Latrobe to Latrobe St with access to Melbourne Central Station. It is a very shaded and cold space enclosed by the surrounding buildings. The ground is flat and is made from Melbourne’s signature blue stone tiles. Unlike a lot of Melbourne Lane ways there has been concerted effort to retain this area as a sterile environment, eliminating any act that could enhance the experience of the space. This concern finishes at the entrance of another the laneway entering the middle of the thoroughfare, where street art prevails to alter the laneway experience.

Design Concept - Wall Park - Keep Trees






Section AA

Section BB

Section CC This first design included the existing trees. I was initially looking for ways to get people up onto the ledges that ran on either side, with the intention of creating a wall park.

Further investigation into the context found residential apartments at eye level with these ledges. For this reason I decided to focus in the laneway.

Section DD

Looking south down site.

Park up a Building Santiago De Compostella





Section EE




Vines and Climbers

Low to mid Grasses, Plants, and Shrubs


Pandorea alba Part shade

Pyrostegia venusta Full Sun Flowers in winter

Dianella caerulea Full sun part shade

Cissus antarctica Part to full shade

Trachelospermum jasminoides Full sun to shade

Clivia miniata Part to full shade

Aspidistra elatior Part to full shade

Aucuba japonica 'Crotonifolia' foliage Part to full shade

Sansevieria trifasciata Dull sun to full shade

Euonymus fortunei Part to full shade

Ficus Pumila Full sun to full shade


As I had previously done, APokAFari - Mindscape I made a plant list of vegetation that would grow in the extreme temperatures of concrete Melbourne, that gets very hot in summer and cold in winter. I predominately looked for plants that grow in shade to part shade, with some full sun plants to use in select areas. By making looking at this vegetation I began to imagine what I could design next.

Anjo City of Aichi Prefecture, Government building, Japan

Design Concept - Green Gorge - Remove Trees

This is an example of a Green Curtain. This is grown on five nets retrofitted to the building facade. Each net is 16 meters long and six meters wide, from the first floor to the rooftop. For each net, five planters containing morning glories, bitter gourds and loofah were used. Vines used here would not be as successful in the shade of the laneway.




Petra Gorge, Jordan

Image sourced: http://www.burckhardtpartner.

Concept Sketch

MFO - Park Zurick, Germany Design by Burchardt + Parnter in conjunction with Raderschall Landscape Architects. This park is closed in on three sides by a metal skeleton and cables acting as a trellous for over 12 hundred different plants. Unlike other precedents all plants seem to be growing from the ground. This is impressive as the structure is nearly 20m high. Looking at how vines have been lit at night offers ideas of how vines in my proposed design might look at night.


By creating a winding path with a varying topography and restricting the view through the entire lane, I have been able to create multiple moments through the site. Making a feature out of the void above, by encouraging the viewers eye to lead up the vines to the fake vines and textural sky. By removing the trees and restricting the vines to only cross over the lane in two sections I have also been successful in achieving a lighter environment.


Design Concept - Green Gorge - 2 levels of planter

To establish vines over entire cable length quicker this design has second beds raised up the wall. A second row of vines would grow from these points.



Section AA



Section BB

Section CC

Section DD







Design Concept -Cable valley + terraced planter

Garsy Flower Tower The Garsy flower tower is a very practical way of creating instant height, using vegetation not normally presented vertically. I would like to test possibilities of scaling up this concept to fit along a wall. Each level is open to the next creating a large root area.



By doing so I would be creating different edge condition in the site.

Section BB

Section CC

Section DD




Section AA





Exploring urban greening in conjunction with bright colours and vivid patterning results in a mixed medium approach to landscape composition. Replicating natural forms using synthetic materials is a way to add colour and pattern. Understanding that the urban environment can be very hostile and vegetation can take a long time to establish. I have looked at a synthetic materials to merge with vines.

Moving wall treatment

Addressing the wall’s in other ways then vegetation I have began testing what a hairy building would look like.

Due to the design not being sole reliant on vegetation to achieve the desired outcome, the proposed will enable into fruition quicker.

Patrick Blanc, Goodwill Industries building, Tacoma, Image sourced:



Fake Vine

Ken Smith Sky Wall By simulating organic imagery Smith is able to appeal to the subconscious of his viewers. I think people are happy to be fooled if you do so in an indirect manner. In the image above Smith has attached a printed blue sky onto a wire fence in the middle of a grey concrete environment. It Is obvious that this is not a real sky, but the imagery appeals to cognitive memory and the feeling associated with this image. If it is understood that a blue sky makes you happy, then this prior relationships with the imagery should subconsciously make you feel happy.

Working with this concept I am testing ways to make the wall above the hill of vines be covered in a representation of a blue sky.

Once again I have referenced Ken Smith with his interpretation of a vertical garden on the facade Cooper-Hewitt building in New York, title “wall

Flowers. Instead or the design being sole artificial I would like to blend vegetation into the synthetic, adding colour and achieving the desired outcome quicker.



Design Concept - Wall Park - Keep Trees







E D Section BB - South Wall

Scale 1:400

Section CC




Section DD

Section EE


Section FF G



N Section GG

Section HH

View from north side

Scale 1:200


Proposed Model One Understanding that part of the approach of LA Pok is design through creation I will be evolving my design through a number of scale models. Model One is at a scale of 1:100. I will next work at 1:50 testing different outcomes. I plan on then creating a 1:20 model of finished proposed design.



River of Colour - Path Patterning


Strelka bar in Moscow, Russia

Creating a brighter environment I have began looking at colourful patterns to cover pathway. Luid colours used above are not normally associated with the ground plain, but juxtapose the bland environment surrounding. I would like to achieve a similar effect with the river of colour leading through the space. I now need to look at how the patterning can change the perception of the space, through visual illusions.





As the majority of these projects are in the public realm, the most exiting responses have come from the press or blogs, where artists, journalists, and tourists have been commenting on and discussing the work of La Pok. Furthermore select installations have been used in a presentation at Parks and Leisure Australia Smart Water Conference in Perth, as examples of innovative approaches to urban greening and water conservation. Such findings are encouraging and prove that La Pok Escapes can and is contributing to the field of Landscape Architecture. I have been successful in experimenting with synthetic materials in conjunction with vegetation to achieve highly contrasting colours, and forms. This concept has not been tested to its full potential though in the Scenic Route Project. The form of this design also need to be further. Investigations into using colour in specific areas to orchestrate this experience has also yet to be tested The overall investigation into how the approach of LA Pok can be translated into Landscape Architecture has not been convey to its full potential. I hope to achieve this through the representation of a full scale proposed design of the Scenic Route project. I believe through these projects I have been able to establish part of the practice of La Pok and how these interest can develop into my future practice as a Landscape Architect.




Bibliography Claude Comier [Online], 2011, Jun, Available:, 2011, Jun, 07. Helbig H B, Ernst M O, Haptic perception: Haptic perception in interaction with other senses, (source unknown) Loidi, H, Bernard , S, 2000, Open spaces: Form and Forming, Birkhauser, Germany. Tim Richardson, The Vanguard Landscapes and Gardens of Martha Schwartz, Thames and Hudson, London 2004.

Sam Steenholt Concise ADR  

Sam Steenholt Concise ADR

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