Designed as an “all-ability” playground, it offers sensory experiences throughout and wheelchair access to 70% of the activities. There was a conscious decision to include the following features:
- A toddlers area, separate from the more senior children
- Equipment suitable from age 2 to 18
- A wide range of activities such as climbing, spinning, swinging, sliding, hiding…
- Tactile experiences with the use of varied materials such as concrete, stainless steel, wood, plastic, rubber, soft and rough leaved plants
- Sensory garden with scented and textured plants, music panels and bells and concealed telephone tubes.
- Coloured concrete paths for wheelchairs and tricycles
It has proven very popular with not only the neighbourhood but the wider region as people drive from nearby towns or detour after school.
Cartagen Group P/L
Drouin, West Gippsland , VIC
Part of multi-disciplinary team
The Masterplan offered a systematic approach to all aspects of ground maintenance, new courtyard designs based on simplified traffic patterns, a new plant palette and a full implementation strategy.
Following up from this work, we were commissioned to design the Junior school courtyard which was covered with bitumen, served mainly as a thoroughfare and was cold and uninviting.
The brief included providing a venue for assemblies, outdoor art classes and performances, shade, informal sitting areas, planting and disable access.
A central space was created with low tables with rubberised paving below which the children sat on at lunchtime but kneeled at for outdoor classes. The space was punctuated with brightly colour seating walls, concrete paving and soft and fragrant planting, whilst bordered by more private and secluded spaces.
The design of the courtyard creates a dynamic space through colour and textures which provided the courtyard with a new focus for the renovated Junior school and lent it a contemporary edge.
Westbourne Grammar School Masterplan and courtyards
Amongst established trees and adjacent to the Junior School, this land was to become the main playground for girls aged between 7 and 12 years.
A school masterplan was developed to allocate areas of passive and active recreation, as well as outdoor teaching.
The proposals explored alternative forms of play whilst focusing on the imagination – and typical behaviour patterns – of young girls.
The final scheme, developed with teachers and parents, offers a timber stage for performance and teaching space under old protected elm trees; a green maze with colourful panels for privacy; a display of artwork; a main playground structure with crooked floors, see-through panels, a jail and a disabled ramp with an associated cluster of small cubby houses.
The design was inspired by the great Australian shed in keeping with the rustic character of the land.
Methodist Ladies College Playground
- The Red Centre, with red soil, grasses together with magpies and emus.
- The beaches with sand, coral and surf boards.
- The rainforest with tree ferns, mosses and a creek.
A large proportion of the garden was sourced from Australia and freighted free of charge by Qantas. A variety of Australian photographers and Aboriginal painters were represented (with their permission and payment of royalties) on printed textile banners which framed the garden. Only the soils (sourced from south of France) and most of the plants (except the tree ferns) were sourced in France and England. Due to tight timeline and budget, all the preparation was done in Australia and culminated in 3-day construction frenzy on site. The bulk of the site work and coordination should be credited to Brett Foulis who was working for us at the time.
The garden was a great success and attracted the attention of all visitors.
L’art du Jardin, Garden Show
Lead, Design and Construct