Arboriculture Training Tower

Location

Fairfield, Victoria

Year

2023 – 2024

Services

Principal Consultant
Architecture
Contract Administration
Design team management

Photography

Overview

Located within the Fairfield campus of Melbourne Polytechnic, the Arboriculture Training Tower is a facility that provides a safe and secure environment for tree climbing, felling, cultivation and management.

Creating this facility means bringing arborist training into a controlled environment on campus. Traditionally, trainers would undertake onerous site visits and assessments to find sites suitable for coursework. Inevitably, external sites provided a limited ability to control risks. With the new facility, the former administrative work and risks of uncertain weather, safety, and access are eliminated.

Heritage challenges and important collaborations

Melbourne Polytechnic’s Fairfield campus is subject to a sensitive heritage overlay, which placed constraints on where the tower could be located. We assisted Melbourne Polytechnic in identifying a suitable site, liaising with Heritage Victoria to select a site that would minimise the tower’s impact on the site’s heritage aesthetic.

With high aspirations for their arborist training, Melbourne Polytechnic hired a specialist arborist to update the existing course. The design development hinged upon a collaborative relationship between our team, the arborist and the engineers, to achieve a structure that felt like a tree in order to provide a meaningful simulation of a real-life situation.

Deploying a novel technical approach

As there was no known arborist tower facility like this, a novel technical approach was required. We thrived working through the intricate steel and timber structures, keeping safety at the forefront of our proposal, and developing a rich architectural outcome.

Enhancing safety and immersive learning

Providing four artificial trees that can be used simultaneously with supervision, the facility delivers improved safety outcomes for students and instructors, and a unique, immersive teaching environment for the course.