Creating a Da Vinci inspired playspace sounded crazy – but we did it! 2017 has seen Playscape Creations, collaborating with JW Concepts, HNK and Gladstone Regional Council to create the ultimate bespoke playground – winner of Parks and Leisure QLD Award – QLD Park of the Year!
Attending a presentation from our Landscape Architect, Tobi Volbert at the Parks and Leisure Annual Conference in 2015, Gladstone Regional Council’s Parks and Environment Manager was inspired to hear our take on the importance and value of integrating a sensory design methodology in playspace design to achieve a truly inclusive space – beyond accessibility. The design team was formed, with HNK project managing the entire process.
Gladstone has a strong Industrial history, so when Council engaged us to design this park we drew on the pioneer of technology in Leonardo da Vinci, and then added nature to provide this “Industry meets Nature” inspired design. The overall form is based on cogs’ interaction with each other and providing islands of play and recreation. Every aspect of this park is unique with special elements that engage and inspire – a custom climbing tower Climbmax challenge net climber form the centrepiece of action where children can test their limits and challenge their abilities.
However not everyone wants to climb and a truly intergenerational design provides choices for everyone to enjoy the space. The overall design incorporates sensory features accommodating children and adults with disabilities including sensory processing disorder, auditory processing disorder, visual impairment, down-syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida. The Five Way Swing Zone has varied swing seats to cater for a range of users, a fully accessible sensory misting cog adds intrigue to many, the social hub with proprioceptive seats or a retreat area to rest and observe – all add to the multi use benefits of the park.
And at night the space becomes a sensory wonderland again, with motion activated lighting and misting allowing for increased use of this destination playspace.
Despite all the fun, the original playground was pretty run down and the site had massive overland flow challenges that needed to be overcome. Design strategies were also incorporated to enhance the passive surveillance and CPTED principles, and to minimise the complexity of maintenance and whole of life costs in order to hand over a high quality asset to Gladstone Regional Council at the end of the project.
The project was ultimately delivered by JM Kelly Constructions, the Principal Contractors for civil and construction work on site, with our team working closely with their programme to provide the Artistic Playground and Sensory items, and helping ensure a seamless delivery of this amazing space.
A large amount of media has surrounded the official opening of this acclaimed Sensory Park – you can see some action packed video and more photos, and read one of the local media stories here.