Jubilee Playground, Sydney, Australia
Set between two boughs of a large fig, the floating world took form as a circular tree house in the shape of a giant fruit capsule. Made of timber shingles on thin steel legs the capsule appears to float above the ground, hidden within this gnarly tree, drawing children into its magic boughs. A rope net gives a scrambling entry to the cubby and an oculus draws light into this curved space, illuminating a rich fig-like magenta interior. A perimeter seat and rubber ‘net’ furnish this space. A steel slide and pole make two exits, while a small window allows children to spy on the world below.
It is at once open and enclosed, connected to but separated from the earth. Underneath the cubby a spiralling maze of ropes appear like the tendrils of aerial roots. A path of tea tree branches circumscribes and heightens this space and links to a play deck and seat, allowing adults to gather and watch the orbit of children at play.
Renovated and bounded by concentric rings of coloured softfall the carousel is now safe and compliant. Close by, two swings appear pressed into the ground, one oriented to the picnic area and water, the other to the broad lawn. Both appear tied to the fulcrum of the carousel and form a playful triumvirate at the epicentre of the playground.
The tea tree path reappears and winds its way from an embankment slide to a shaded sand pit. The mound of the slide and the pit of sand alludes to the process of land reclamation. The sand recalls the lost shore with a tree trunk bridging this imagined line- a timber canoe an echo of this past. The shade structure takes its form from an abstracted mangrove leaf, a fresh green leaflet opening to the sky.
Architect:sue barnsley design landscape architects
Image Credits: Brett Boardman