Award Winning Playspaces – AILA 2017

Together with Lat27, we are proud recipients of AILA QLD’s 2017 Playspace Award for our project at Roma Street Parklands.  Being recognised by the Landscape Architectural Industry’s peak body is both humbling and exciting, and we are exceptionally proud to be acknowledged for our efforts, our diverse and customised product offering and the unique capability of our professional team.

Roma Street Parkland, located in the heart of Brisbane across an expansive 16 hectare site, has been a favourite parkland destination for the city since its creation over fifteen years ago. During this time the parkland has established itself as one of the nation’s premier parks and best examples of contemporary horticulture design.

The parkland is comprised of a myriad of diverse garden spaces designed to cater for a wide range of uses, events and gatherings with the intention to attract visitors of all ages and backgrounds. However, the existing playground offering did not represent contemporary play design principles which aspire to create active and nature based play, nor did it reflect the famous horticultural experience synonymous with Roma Street Parkland.

The introduction of a new attraction, specifically play and family focussed, brought with it the necessary energy to reinvigorate this space and provide a positive connection to neighbouring features including the Spectacle Garden, Amphitheatre and existing playground, and has  transformed the space into a new hive of activity within the broader Parklands.

The playground was carefully nestled in to the space to create a cohesive multi-sensory experience with an exploratory thread of discovery.  The play experience, entwined with horticultural wonderment, was paramount to the ultimate success of this project. Great consideration was given to access, both physical and visual, safety, comfort and legibility to ensure a rich play experience was available to all visitors of all abilities and ages. Strategic selection of key play elements to stimulate and challenge the wide range of cognitive and physical attributes present in developing children, the design also integrates numerous opportunities where children can gather and interact informally to build on social skills, role play and imagination based play. A generous inclusion of nature based play elements and materiality added to the tactile and sensory play experience and also assisted greatly in melding the new with the existing fabric. Children are subtly guided through the varying levels, rope bridges, pathways and embankments to discover multiple journeys, hidden pockets and a diverse range of challenges and experiences. Every opportunity was explored and harnessed to create a memorable and fun play experience to provide a significant addition to the family friendly activities available at the Parklands, attracting and engaging children of all ages and abilities.

Functionality and maintenance are integral to the long term success of all landscape projects. Play equipment and materials were selected for robustness and serviceability. The playground has evolved greatly since its opening with foliage now enveloping the secret garden paths and rope bridges, framing slides and ever so quickly ‘breaking’ the edges of materials to give the appearance that it has always been a part of the parkland. The space has enjoyed numerous events and happily hosts classroom-sized groups for horticultural based educational activities. The client also introduced a working worm farm and vegetable patch to further enhance the educational values of the playground area.

The playground is now abuzz with activity and has successfully re-invigorated the north-eastern pocket of Roma Street Parkland.