The Common Playground

Project Name: THE COMMON PLAYGROUND

Recipient: EPCAD

Client: Stockland WA Development Pty Ltd

Project address: Mayfield Drive, Brabham WA 6055

EPCAD’s design solutions for Whiteman Edge’s latest playground incorporated a range of proprietary and bespoke play structures and a variety of surface treatments. Unitary surface treatments for wheelchair accessibility included poured rubber and a variety of concrete treatments.

Poured rubber surfaces extend to inside a sandpit allowing the utility of a birds nest swing as well as the formation of a wheelchair accessible ramp to a dual line flying fox fitted with a basket chair. A ‘drive in’ carousel installed amongst rubber soft fall extends the wheelchair accessible play elements.

Concrete surfacing in a variety of mainly muted colours, textures and patterning was installed around play elements catering to children with autism spectrum disorders, visual, hearing and mobility impairments. These proprietary play pieces have been arranged spatially to allow ease of access for multiple users and simultaneous wheelchairs.

The overall spatial arrangement of the play elements are loosely, but not exclusively, ordered around age groupings and multiple levels of challenge. From the northern toddler areas of hard and soft surfacing, to the mid-ground accessible and tactile provision to the southern climbing and sliding opportunities designed towards older children and a greater sense of challenge. Naturally, post- construction observation of the play element use has seen a broad age range utilise all components depending on individual capabilities and exploration.

Plain grey boundary paths to each side of the playground are near level, easily traversed and arranged to allow orientation around the space. Visual permeability through the play areas from these paths allows sighting and supervision of children as they play. Enclosing perimeter containment for the playground provides parents and carers an element of supervisory relaxation and allows for children of different abilities to mix throughout the playground.

Tactile experiences have been spaced throughout the playground with natural elements, a tiled wall created from a resident children’s painting workshop as well as a specially commissioned artist’s embossed tile installation.

Support features for the playground have proven incredibly popular and their usage has exceeded original expectations, especially the paired shelters and barbeques. Additional elements include a dual restroom with a changing table to support an adult body, a drinking fountain, two shade structures over toddler play areas and multiple seating options throughout the playground of both traditional benches and recycled logs. Ease of vehicle parking is allowed for with multiple car bays along Mayfield Drive.

The surrounding landscape is intended to soften and reinforce the multiple play pods with over two hundred new trees planted for future shade cover and cooling. Interaction with natural systems have been enhanced through the preservation of three existing mature trees. These all allow informal seating, one with turf beneath and the others with bark mulch and rocks and tree trunks upcycled and carved into seats, many left with insect marks as tactile natural elements. To the western side behind a perimeter fence a Living Stream has been created to convey the development’s stormwater while providing a naturalised boundary to the play space.

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