The Dyslexia Discovery Centre Garden in Christchurch is a delightful woodland-style courtyard area that has been created to provide a shady, quiet contemplation area for staff and visitors. It is a wonderful space, a serene place that is open to locals and visitors of Christchurch’s CBD to enjoy. Designed by Morgan+Pollard Associates, it has won a slew of awards including a silver medal at New Zealand’s bi-annual 2008 Landscape Architects Awards, Stevenson Landscape of the Year 2008, Maccaferri Best Water Feature, as well as Daltons Best Commercial Landscape awards.
The property consists of modern guest quarters, a courtyard and a historic house and the space has been cleverly used to create an inspirational and exquisitely executed garden. The courtyard features an interactive sculpture garden with pieces conceived by Richard Taylor and the Weta Workshop and has transformed what was once simply a car parking space into a place of expression for the dyslexic mind. It has been designed to act as an outdoor learning experience that educates the public about the realities of living with dyslexia. The sculptures tackle the issues of dyslexia ‘head on’ and are designed to represent the dyslexic experience. This permanent exhibit also features work by sculptor Paul Dibble who was commissioned by the Dyslexic Foundation to create a piece that reflects John Britten’s dreams of speed and flight. The garden highlights both the difficulties of dyslexia but also shows the condition as a creative gift.
Located on Christchurch’s Worcester Boulevard, the garden uses a predominantly green and rust coloured planting palette and a small range of materials, together with sweeping curves to create a sense of movement through the garden. The effect is a dramatic and poetic sculptural feature that makes the most of the space available. The garden is a fine example of creativity combined with design finesse, sound construction techniques and exceptional attention to detail.
This garden is an outstanding success and shows what can be achieved when talented and creative minds design for people with special needs and the general public together.