Much has been achieved over the past two decades to transform the site of Sydney Park – formerly an industrial area – into 44 hectares of parkland serving the growing communities of Sydney’s southeast suburbs. Overseen by Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership in collaboration with the City of Sydney, the recent Water Re-Use Project is part of the municipality’s Decentralised Water Master Plan, which is focused on reducing its potable water demand by 10 per cent before 2030. The City of Sydney’s largest water-harvesting project to date, the Sydney Park scheme not only engaged ecologists, water experts, artists, engineers and the city’s own landscape architects in a fully integrated design process, but effectively reinterpreted conventional park design as it did so.
Among the challenges the team took on were the communication of the park’s water-harvesting system (rather than its concealment), the preservation of the site’s post-industrial heritage, the protection of local wildlife and the accommodation of “rain events of varying intensity.” In large part, the landscape architects achieved these goals by creating a waterscape of wetlands, water channels and immersive habitats, all designed to collect water from various sources and then filter it through the wetlands before it enters permanent ponds.
Now fully integrated and operational, the wetlands capture and clean the equivalent of 340 Olympic-sized swimming pools per year, as well as telling “a water story” through their “visible ebbs and flows.”
“By creating intrigue and dialogue as park users explore and discover ‘moments’ in the landscape,” say the designers, “the transformation not only offers them a new place to relax, play and gather,” but also serves as a living, breathing educational tool when it comes to water management.
AZ Awards category Environmental Leadership Project Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project Location St. Peters, New South Wales, Australia Firms Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership, Sydney, Australia Team Mike Horne, Adam Hunter and Scott Ibbotson with Damon La’Rance, Sarah Scott, Adam Fowler, Andrew McMillan, Jennifer Turpin, Michaelie Crawford and Geraldene Dalby-Ball
Taking home the Environmental Leadership award, this Australian park provides clean water and gorgeous public space.