Three Canberra parks will be transformed through the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) Nature Play Competition “Craft Your Park”, with Canberra landscape architecture practices Spacelab, GroupGSA, CIA Landscapes and Colour and Harris Hobbs Landscapes submitting the winning proposals. Each practice will engage the local community in a co-design process to transform the parks into a nature play space to complement the existing area.
The successful practices were selected to design and construct makeover the following three Canberra parks;
- Finn Street in O’Connor -Spacelab, Glascott Landscape & Civil + Provincial Plants & Landscapes
- Telopea Park in Barton -GroupGSA & CIA Landscapes and Colour, with Ric McConaghy
- Tuggeranong Town Park in Greenway -Harris Hobbs Landscapes+ Area Design Consultants, with Brindabella Contractors Pty Ltd, and Nicholas Bray Landscapes + Geoff Filmer
The three simultaneous projects are to add natural play components to three existing play spaces in Canberra and will include the engagement of local community members. The competition is an initiative of The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) in collaboration with the ACT Government Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCS).
Each park has created a Facebook page to keep the community up to date with consultations and plans for the parks. Click below to see what's been happening:
Finn Street Park
Tuggeranong Town Park
Construction of the parks is aiming to be complete by July 2017, with a public voting campaign to decide the best built outcome.
The jury consisted of Ross Dennis (ACT/NSW/QLD Regional Coordinator at the Bluearth Foundation), Fiona Robbe (Landscape Architect & Horticulturalist), and Fleur Flanery (Director, City Services at ACT Government).
“We were very impressed with the calibre of the submissions especially given the busy time of year and tight timeframe” commented Fiona Robbe. “As a jury, we really liked the teams appreciation that Nature Play is beneficial to both children AND adults, to participate together” added Juror Ross Dennis.
Natural play spaces blend materials to create a purposely complex experience with an interplay of natural objects, to challenge physical skills and fire the imagination. Research has also demonstrated that natural playgrounds can provide children with more opportunities to develop gross-motor skills.
“We hope that having direct community input and participation in upgrading these play spaces will encourage ownership and care of the parks by the community who use them. The value of the improved play space and collaborative approach will hopefully flow on beyond the term of the project.” continued Ms Flanery.
Under the competition, entries were assessed on their understanding of nature play and their approach to community engagement of both adults and children. Another feature of the competition is involvement of University of Canberra landscape students in the project. Each of the three winning teams of practices and construction contractors are to receive contracts with the ACT Government – TCCS, to a total value of $100,000 for the design, consultation, superintendence/ administration and construction of the project, as well as one ticket (per winning team) to the 2017 International Festival of Landscape Architecture.