The brief for the Former Water Police Site was to develop a new public park for a 1.8 hectare parcel of post industrial land on the Pyrmont peninsula. The prime location of the site on Sydney’s waterfront offered the unique opportunity for the creation of memorable public parkland for both local users and the wider community. The brief also required appropriately scaled community facilities including shade canopies, kiosk and toilets to be included within the design.
The master plan conceived of the new park lands as an enlargement of the existing Pyrmont Point and Gibba Parks, and connected with the existing public parks and publicly accessible spaces on the Pyrmont peninsula providing a combined public open space of over 4Ha.
The design provides multiple new paths and a waterfront promenade around the Pyrmont foreshore, an important link in the 14km network of pedestrian paths, cycleways and open space extending from Glebe to Rushcutters Bay.
The park structure is designed to incorporate multiple spaces, from the broad scale to the intimate. Level changes across the site are used in subtle ways to create discreet areas that allow for different uses and create varying park rooms. The structure has defined these park spaces into 7 key areas; the sheltered bay, the pole garden, the shoreline promenade, the green and the point, the grove, the community square and the escarpment and Pirrama Rd.
The sheltered bay creates passive recreation opportunities at the waters edge and strengthens the site’s historic relationship to Sydney harbour. Considerable marine engineering has been undertaken including excavation to create the harbour inlet. The design incorporates precast concrete steps and platforms at varying levels to heighten the experience of tidal water movement. Foreshore elements include outboard walks, maritime remnants and platforms sunken and revealed by monthly and annual tidal cycles. Existing timber piles are retained where possible as remnant artefacts of the sites historic uses.
Open lawn areas for informal play and clusters of shaded areas under Port Jackson Figs are located at the northern and eastern sections of park. To the east of the main promenade denser plantings of native Gum trees define a more intimate series of park spaces with facilities for picnicking and barbeques. To the south, a children’s play area is located adjacent to the community square. The community square is defined by the sandstone cliff on the curve of Pirrima Road, and incorporates a pavilion including café and toilet facilities. This sunny, sheltered place can accommodate a range of public uses including cultural events and performances, meetings, markets and festivals.
A number of community facilities are provided for in the park. These facilities include shade structures, a kiosk, new toilets at the southern edge of the park, barbecue facilities and a new public staircase connecting Herbert Street to Pirrama Road. The children’s play area is located adjacent to the kiosk and toilet, enhancing visual surveillance. Three shade pavilions provide shelter in the park whilst the tree population is established. The larger canopy is located in the playground, with two additional shade structures on the northern end of the existing concrete wharf and on the northern edge of the children’s playground.
The project restores an alienated post industrial water frontage to publically accessible parklands. The transformation of the former water police site to a park with its range of rooms and experiences has not only benefited the surrounding community, but it has added a missing link toward the completion of the 14 km publicly accessible harbour walk between Rozelle and Woolloomooloo. This is a major contribution to the greater landscape of Sydney.
+ Project credits / data
Project: The new park at the Former Water Police Site
Location: Former Water Police Site, Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia
Key Materials: Insitu concrete, rhyolite, precast concrete, recycled timber, steel with MIO, custom benches, SFA benches, weef lighting, custom BBQ, LED wall lighting, solar collectors
Cost: 26 million AUS Dollars
Area Size: 1.8 hectare site
Typology: Landscape design
Client: City of Sydney Council
Landscape Architects / Lead Consultants: ASPECT Studios Pty Ltd
Architects: Hill Thalis Architecture + Urban Projects Pty Ltd
Playground Consultant: Fiona Robbe
Landscape Architect/Heritage (Master Plan): CAB Consulting
Builders: Ford Civil Contractors
Concrete Subcontracting: McEwan Concreting
Precast Concrete fabrication: Hanson Precast
Structural and Civil Engineers: Connell Wagner (structural, civil, drainage, hydraulic engineering) and TLB Engineers (marine engineering), Warwick Donnelly (playground engineering)
Ecological Engineering: Water Sensitive Design Strategy
Interpretative Design: Deuce Design
Lighting: Lighting, Art + Science
Community Consultation: The People for Places + Spaces
Photographers: Florian Groehn
Awards: AILA NSW 2007 Award for Excellence in Planning
2009 Certificate of Recognition, NSW Play Space Winner for the Parks and Leisure Association, Australia Awards
CCAA Public Domain Awards 2009, Winner of Precincts / State Winner NSW / Winner Best Overall Project