Defining space

The grounds of St John’s College merge, undefined, with the broader campus of The University of Sydney. With increasing concerns about security and safety, it is important for the college to define the areas open to the general public and the space which is the domain of the college’s residents and staff.

As St John’s College is a place with heritage and historic value, a solution that did not severely impact the visual aspect of the buildings was essential. HAA aimed to avoid building a wall while clearly indicating where the public domain finished and a private area started. The solution was a very old approach called estate fencing.

Estate fencing developed in the United Kingdom as a method of defining boundaries within parks and estates. Earliest examples date back to the 15th century. The fencing is made of fine metal rods, originally in cast iron but these days usually in galvanised mild steel. It has metal feet which are dug into the ground so the fence can be relocated if needed. Estate fences are often curved, following contour lines and giving a softer appearance.

Gates are commonly found in estate fences and so the St John’s fencing contains a number of small gates for pedestrian access.

The new fencing is currently being installed at St John’s. It is already making a positive visual impact, setting the college buildings within a clearly defined space.