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Eastlink Freeway
by Wood Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture



Eastlink is a 45km freeway linking the existing Eastern Freeway to Frankston and beyond. Part of a larger consortium headed by Thiess-John Holland, Wood Marsh were responsible for the generation of design concepts, documentation, detailing, and inspection of site works, for the entire architectural aesthetic of the project. The main challenge was to understand and embrace the massive scale of the undertaking, and ultimately, how to make the journey an engaging experience. Conceptually the desire was to create a large scale sculptural object that extended over the entire project. We looked to the topography, geology and flora of the region to form a palette of materials, textures and colours, which were applied as the basic vocabulary of the design. Primarily this concept was achieved through the manipulation and design of the noise walls; which are basically white arcs or black lines. The rock textured off-white concrete arcs refer directly to the work Wood Marsh made on Stage 1 of the Eastern Freeway extension The charcoal linear noise walls are unique to Eastlink and are designed as taut ribbons of fractured concrete that move graphically though the landscape and land forming. Both elements oscillate to and from the carriageway in plan creating space and landscape potential. In certain locations the charcoal noise walls are topped with acrylic panels in various shades of green. Orange acrylic is used on bridge structures as a vibrant flash of colour, as often seen as highlights in the native vegetation. The additional "furniture" on the

project such as the tolling gantries, signage, tunnel portals and bridge structures, draw directly from the master palette so that a concise and coherent outcome is achieved in this unique piece of infrastructure. Due to the scale and nature of the project, it was paramount that we work closely with all consultants and the construction team to achieve the design intent. Structural, civil and acoustic engineers, fabricating contractors, landscapers and artists were all a part of the same consortium and worked together to achieve a successful outcome. As with all public projects of this nature, the motorway's impact on its environment was a major concern. Controlling noise pollution was one of the key strategies employed and by addressing this; a major design feature of the freeway was created. The Eastlink road project is unique in Australia in that it has been designed for 100% capture and treatment of road surface water run-off throughout the 45 km corridor. In order to capture this runoff around 60 new constructed wetlands and water retention basins were created. In addition to their pollution control function, these wetlands form a valuable new set of micro-habitats for wildlife along the roadway. The Eastlink freeway immediately adds a positive change to Melbourne's infrastructure and road network through the direct connection between the Eastern Freeway and Frankston. Additionally, the integration of public art along the freeway, comprising of four large scale artworks and 10 smaller scale works, enriches Melbourne's cultural fabric.

Wood Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture
Project Team
Project architect: Gary Windiate
Project architect: Charles Inglis
Design architect: Roger Wood
Design architect: Randal Marsh
Structural consultant: PB Hyder
Electrical consultant: United Group Rail
Mechanical consultant: United Group Rail
Landscape consultant: Tract Consultants Pty Ltd
Acoustic consultant: Bassett Acoustics
Builder: Theiss John Holland Joint Venture
Builder: Theiss John Holland Joint Venture
Project Team: Rachel Hannan
Project Team: David Dennis
Project Team: Thom McKenzie
Project Team: Helen Cheng
Photographer: Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures
Photographer: Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures
Photographer: Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures

Photographs by Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures, Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures & Courtesy of ConnectEast and Heaven Pictures, text by Wood Marsh Pty Ltd Architecture

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects