Environment logo
Australian National Botanic Gardens  
ANBG symbol

Home > ANBG > Public Art



A.     Scope of the Commission and Locations in the Gardens

This Brief covers the design by up to three Artists of a series of sculptural bollards which are intended to replace existing commercially-produced bollards at three highly visible locations in the Botanic Gardens:

  1. at the entry to the Main Pedestrian Path to the south of the Visitor Centre, adjacent to the southern public carpark;

  2. at the entry to the Pedestrian Path to the north of the Visitors Centre, adjacent to the northern carpark and the Tasmanian Gully; and

  3. at a location along the primary bitumen service lane above the Rainforest Gully, which despite being a service lane for Gardens’ vehicles, is used by the public as a major pedestrian route to the upper Gardens areas and major functions at the Eucalypt Lawn.

The three sites will be shown to the selected Artists at the Design Orientation in Canberra at the outset of the Schematic Design process, and copies of reference photographs will be provided documenting the existing condition of each site and the site lines to and from the bollards from surrounding circulation paths and visitation points.

The bollards shall be designed to be attached during fabrication to a standard, commercially-produced, removable-bollard metal base assembly, specifications and details of which shall be provided to the selected Artists at the Design Orientation.

The "base" portions for each bollard will be purchased and installed separately by the Gardens, with the locating "pins" forming the base of each bollard being provided separately and at no cost to the Artist at the beginning of the Fabrication Phase, should the Artist’s design be selected to proceed. A sample of the entire bollard assembly will be demonstrated to the three Artists at the Design Orientation, and if possible, each will be lent one of the base pins for reference during the duration of the Design Phase. The required maximum and minimum heights and widths of the bollards will also be supplied to the Artists at the Orientation; these will be formulated to ensure that adequate passage dimensions are maintained between the bollards themselves and between adjacent kerbs or planting beds for Gardens’ service vehicles, standard wheelchairs, and the needs of physically-challenged visitors with crutches or walking frames.

The bollards should be designed to have a minimum lifespan of ten years in the Canberra environment, where winter frost, relatively high summer temperatures, extremes of temperature change within periods of a few hours, and high levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun are normal. The required maintenance of the bollards during the minimum ten-year lifespan should be as low as possible, and surface finishes to materials should be as resistant to abrasion, damage, or intentional vandalism as possible and should mask or celebrate the changes to the bollard surfaces which will be inherent in the minor wear and tear and exposure to the elements over the bollard’s lifespan.

Materials, finishes, and any coating systems selected by the Artists shall not be subject to "run-off" and staining of surrounding road surfaces and planting beds, and the potential electrolysis between incompatible metals in the sculptural bollard shaft and the specified commercially-produced base and locating pin shall be prevented by the design, fabrication, and installation methods which the Artist specifies.

The bollard design should incorporate a simple means of separating the bollard shaft from the bottom locating pin, so that if the sculptural shaft is damaged and needs replacement, the locating pin can be removed and re-attached to another shaft.

The Artist’s Design should recognise and respond to the fact that the bollards are to be placed in locations where members of the public, often including both the very young and elderly, are moving at leisure, with their attention primarily focused on surrounding planting beds and vistas. While this Brief encourages the bollard design to invite touching, examination, and tactile exploration by passersby, it should not contain sharp projecting elements or other surfaces which, if a pedestrian accidentally bumps into the bollard, a child falls against it, or a Gardens’ horticultural staff member is working with or adjacent to it, represent a significantly heightened risk of injury. Due to the functional nature of the sculptural bollards, a reasonable risk assessment process will be inherent part of the evaluation and selection among the Artists’ designs.

Within these design objectives and constraints, the materials and finishes for the bollards can be selected at the Artists’ discretion within the specified budget limits below. These materials include but are not limited to cast, fabricated, and wrought metals and profiled, carved, laminated, turned, or textured timber. Plastics and resins shall be avoided, since their capacity to age with grace is often unpredictable and limited. Timbers proposed for use by the selected Artists shall be consistent with the ANBG’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

The Artist should recognise that the Gardens has very limited budgets for the ongoing development, maintenance, and enhancement of the Gardens. To the extent that the Artists’ designs for the bollards can "do much with little" while still creating an imaginative and content-filled addition to the visual environment in which they are to be placed, with a consequent reduction in the unit price for each bollard, the opportunity to extend the bollards’ three specified locations to include other highly public locations or for the Gardens to acquire "spares" of the sculptural shafts from the Artist will be enhanced.

The Commission Budget requires the production of a minimum of nine bollards for use in the two locations in the Gardens. The nine bollards may be produced as a limited production series, identical to each other, or may be individually designed and made, as in carved or sculptural forms.


B.     Conceptual Basis for the Bollard Design for the Botanic Gardens

The bollards in their selected locations are seen at long and close views by hundreds of the Gardens’ visitors every day, who approach them, pass them, and touch them in the process. They offer a unique opportunity to:

Attached to this Design Brief, as PDF documents, are:

The selected Artists are requested to have read and considered these two briefing documents prior to the initial Design Orientation for the commission.

These briefing documents make clear that the purpose of the inclusion of commissioned art, craft, and design in the Gardens is not for decoration and embellishment, but rather is for its contribution to interpretation. It arises from the fact that, as the introduction to Chapter 3 notes,

"...Despite the intermittent nature of funding which is expected to be available for the implementation of the Public Art Master Plan for the Gardens and the consequent lack of control over the planning and timing of commissions on an orderly basis, the key area over which the Gardens can have control is the conceptual grounding of each commission to an artist or craftsperson, and the balancing of commissions annually within a conceptual strategy which is designed to stimulate, engender, and shape the interpretive role of art in the mission of the Gardens" (Ibid.)

These documents also explain that the intent of introducing art, craft, and design into the Botanic Gardens is to allow Artists to "speak" about potent ideas and creative "making" in public in ways which are especially pertinent to the mission of the Gardens. The role of art in society as intelligent provocation, of exploring the definition of new cultural narratives and myths through interpretation, of examining the exploration of landscape traditions as "shared culture", as exploring public understanding of co-adaptation, environmental sustainability, and the individual’s role in shared custodianship in Australia are all at the basis of the commissioning of artists to design special bollards for the Gardens, rather than merely ordering standard bollard systems "out of the catalogue".

The Artist is invited to address any of the conceptual aims of the Art Program documented in these two Chapters, including the ten basic typologies for commissions, in the design of the bollards, particularly as they relate to each of the three specific sites for the bollards.

C.    Commission Budget

The total budget available from the ANBG for the design, fabrication, and installation of the bollards is $24,000.

The budget has been allocated as follows:

a) Design Fee (three artists @ $1500/each):
$ 4,500
b) Design Development Fee: ca. $2,500 (to be determined in relationto the required scope of development work for the selected design):
$ 2,500
c) Fabrication Allowance (including the Artist’s salary, fabrication costs, etc):
d) Artists’ Travel and Shipment of the Bollards to the ANBG Site (if required):
$ 3,000
e) Installation Allowance: 8 hours @ $85/hr. for labour & equipment, either to the Artist or an installation contractor selected by the Art Coordinator in collaboration with the Artist
$ 680


This budget allows a fabrication cost of a maximum of $1,480 each for nine bollards.

D.     Time Program

The proposed schedule for the commission is as follows:

a) Advertisement of the Expression of Interest in Selected Newspapers: June 2002
b) Receipt of Artists’ Expressions of Interest & Art Advisory Committee selection of three Artists to receive the Design Brief 15-25 July 2002
c) Artists’ Design Orientation in Canberra at Inception of the Design Process 8 August 2002
d) Six-Week Design Process: 8 August – 3 October 2002
e) Art Advisory Committee Selection Process & ANBG Approval to proceed Into the Design Development Phase 11 October 2002
f) Nominal Design Development Phase (two months) 14 Oct./6 Dec. 2002
g) Art Advisory Committee Consideration of the Developed Design & ANBG Approval to Proceed into Fabrication 12 – 18 December 2002
h) Artists’ Fabrication Phase: four months maximum Jan. – April 2003
i) Installation/Dedication of the Bollards May 2003


E.     Submission Requirements Under the Brief

The Artists’ Design Submission shall include the following elements:

  1. Drawings, sketches, or models at a minimum scale of 1:5 (or larger) sufficient to express the Artist’s design intent and intended detailing of the bollards, both in their visual relations to each other as well as individual bollard elements;

  2. A brief written description of the bollard design, describing the Artist’s intent with respect to the way the bollards are meant to be "read" and seen by passersby, and the manner in which they relate to the approved conceptual basis of the ANBG Art Program;

  3. A description of the intended materials, finishes, fabrication method, connections of the sculptural shaft to the locating pin, likely weight of each bollard unit, and method of transport and installation of the bollards;

  4. A detailed cost breakdown for the Design Development, Fabrication, and Installation Phase of the commission, including a description of the scope of work and the Artist’s fee/costs during the Design Development Phase , an itemisation of the Fabrication Phase costing including the Artist’s salary, materials costs, workshop overheads, packing and shipping costs, etc., and the costs of any travel to and from the ANBG if the Artist resides outside the general Canberra area;

  5. a detailed Time Program for the Design Development and Fabrication Phases, consistent with the Artist’s other professional and family obligations;

  6. a 1:1 scale sample of the proposed material, finish, and sculptural detailing of the bollards, sufficient to provide the Art Advisory Committee and senior Gardens staff with an understanding of the Artist’s intent for the bollards; and

  7. a brief description of the annual maintenance requirements for the bollards.

The Design Submission must be complete and submitted on time to the Commission Coordinator if it is to be considered for selection, and must be consistent with the Commission Budget. No Design Fee will be paid to the Artists for incomplete or late submissions, or submissions which exceed the budget available for the project.


F.     Queries During the Design Process

Any technical or design queries which the selected Artists may have during their design process should be directed to the Commission Coordinator as follows:

Ms. Pamille Berg
MGT Architects
Tel. (02) 6280 7080
FAX: (02) 6280 7090

e-mail: pamberg@bigpond.com

Australian National Botanic Gardens ­ growing, studying and promoting Australia's flora.