An RMIT graduate's vision of a free outdoor bouldering wall in Melbourne will soon be realised, with the project set for construction.
Master of Landscape Architecture graduate Stuart Beekmeyer was part of the team behind the innovative plaza project in the inner-north suburb of Brunswick.
Mr Beekmeyer was invited to form part of a Moreland Urban design team that secured $210,000 for the project in a Victorian Department of Justice urban renewal competition.
He said the construction of the bouldering wall and plaza at Wilson Avenue would help re-invigorate the area, known as a crime hot spot.
"The public space is extremely important, as it is free and accessible to everyone and I think the bouldering wall will allow a lot of social connectivity by grounding the space in the common language of climbing," he said.
M Beekmeyer said bouldering walls have the potential to be public art with a health-focused outcome, which would fit nicely into the Brunswick area.
"The designer of Central Park in New York, Frederick Olmstead, believed the value of public space was in creating a neutral ground where people from many backgrounds could mix," he said.
"This plaza will hopefully do that, as well as create life in a rather dead part of Sydney Road."
Moreland City Council last month approved the permanent construction of the project after receiving overwhelming support, with 92 per cent of the 356 submissions to council backing the full Wilson Avenue closure and bouldering wall construction.
An eight-week "pop-up" park was constructed at the proposed site in February this year to test the popularity of the concept and how the street closure would work.
The bouldering wall and plaza aims to re-invigorate the area.
"Our entry was successful because of the number of fantastic people we had on the team, in the community and on the council, who worked very hard on the overall project," Mr Beekmeyer said.
RMIT Deputy Dean of Landscape Architecture, Associate Professor Mauro Baracco, said he was pleased the project had been approved.
"Stuart's project and its capability to relevantly impact at the community level is a significant example of the way Landscape Architecture at RMIT prepares graduates through work-relevant and work-integrated learning," he said.
"His demonstrated ability to smoothly transition to industry is an outcome of the research and teaching programs, which are focused on design practice, and the associated aim to educate students in operating as leading strategic figures in the complex and varied world of design practice."
Mr Beekmeyer said his time at RMIT taught him how to approach industry in a "lateral way".
"Parts of this project and several others I am engaged in are directly from my master's work," he said.
"I always questioned, while studying, whether what I was learning would translate into the 'real world', and in my case it really has."
The Brunswick bouldering project is partially funded under the Victorian Government's Community Crime Prevention Program.
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