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sensory urban play space,
2020

multi sensory playground designed to temporarily inhabit empty plots in dense areas of parramatta

design brief

 

In line with the brief for Sydney Design Week 2020, design a proposal interrogating the contemporary urban condition for Sydney homes a decade into the future. These can be prototypes or speculative pieces which stimulate reflection and inspire dialogue. There must be a clearly defined problem you are responding to (eg. increased density; poor air quality; rising temperatures; multi-generational households). Consideration of climate change from technological, anthropological and scientific perspectives should inform the concept and delivery of artefacts for domestic environments. 

concept statement

 

The urban play space is designed to be a sensory experience inspired by the native vegetation of the Parramatta area. It serves as an important place of connection for many newly immigrated families who otherwise might have limited contact to indigenous floral artefacts. Each piece of equipment takes direct reference from a local plant species to inform its shape and function. Additionally, they are all designed to evoke unique sensory experiences which creates a space that challenges the traditional archetype of play. The park is purposely built without the need for any auxiliary infrastructure like electricity and water. Instead, it uses analogue structures to create a space for play and simple technologies to challenge the senses. This design consideration allows for the continual reuse as the modular pieces can be relocated to any range of sites and contexts. The quality means the work has no defined lifespan making it inherently sustainable. As Parramatta’s future is forecast for much more dense living, finding spaces in the metropolis for the playspace can be difficult. However, capitalising on pockets of abandoned and underused sites the playground finds a new space to inhabit - even if short term. This would lead to a propagation of diverse design in these spaces. Beyond just an area to play, the urban park provides a space for respite from the city but also a pocket for the community to come to gather.

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site plan

Choosing a site in Parramatta I specifically looked into vacant, underutilised plots which could allow for occupancy. An ideal site would encourage the park’s accessibility and use as it is surrounded by residences. For this example an empty plot on Hunter st was used as a prospective site as it offered an appropriate location and size for the project.

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prospective site on hunter st parramatta

sketches

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ideating interactive features

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technical drawings 

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plan

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elevation

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axonometric

sensory map

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model

The model was built to provide a tangible sense of space. Whilst the equipment was not necessarily created with the accurate materials, they all represent the main forms and how they relate to each other in the given context. Everything was built according to a 1:20 scale.