Feb 13 2020, by Fleetwood Urban

Flashback February: Wulaba Park, 2017

Turning a complex structure into an unforgettable experience 

The greatest projects are rarely easy. It’s what makes them so special. It’s also why we’ve worked hard over the years to build our reputation for delivering iconic and complex play structures.

There’s perhaps no better example than Wulaba Park in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Waterloo. Completed back in 2017 for our client Meriton – under the watch of City of Sydney Council – we were engaged by landscape architects Sturt Noble to provide custom design and engineering services in collaboration with their own design team and a talented public artist by the name of Nuha Saad. 

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Highly creative, highly challenging.

The creative vision from Sturt Noble was wonderfully imaginative, involving a soaring 12-metre vertical play tower in the middle of a high-density residential development, reminiscent of the classic Hills Rockets. But it was also hugely challenging to deliver. In fact, I can still vividly recall the first step was to be certain it could even be built at all. 

Given the tower was such an original concept, we had to work hard to nurture the idea from a complex play concept into a safe, unforgettable and buildable play structure. To do it, we turned to our inhouse delivery process, DesignExecute2™ (DE2).

 

“Fleetwood are consistently enthusiastic to hear and workshop ideas from an early stage, providing solid and creative collaboration towards best case outcomes. They love what they do and it shows in their ability to think on the move and meet unforeseen challenges. The DesignExecute2™ process is essentially a commitment to seeing that original vision through to reality without many of the information gaps and inefficiencies that are common to many projects.”
Liam Noble, Director, Sturt Noble

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A flexible project pathway. 

The flexibility of DE2 was absolutely pivotal in bringing Sturt Noble’s vision to life. From design and detailing to final delivery, it provided the team with a customised project pathway that helped us stay true to the original architectural and aesthetic intent from start to finish – even in the face of considerable design, construction, budgetary and compliance pressures.

Making an original idea even better.

One of the many ways the DE2 process helped was in identifying, very early on, an opportunity to work with Sturt Noble to refine the original play tower design to incorporate an additional giant slide without increasing the overall footprint of the structure. That was a big win for the project. Another came during the detailing stage. Rather than launch headlong into fabrication and ‘hope for the best’, we opted to use our unique in-house detailing capacity to create 3D models to ensure all final elements would fit together perfectly. I’m delighted to say they did, and knowing this in advance gave the key stakeholders plenty of confidence as we entered the most critical stage of the project.

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Staying on the same page.

The other big advantage of the DE2 process was the way it helped to remove all those common ‘headaches’ you can have with a lot of different stakeholders. From our end-client at Meriton and City of Sydney Council, to Sturt Noble and a small army of artists, contractors and suppliers, it kept us all on the same page at all times, and streamlined the whole experience. 

In the end, the Wulaba Park play tower met – and in many cases exceeded – all expectations. Three years on, it’s a much-loved park of the local community and a great example of our ability to provide the independence, flexibility and in-house skills necessary to deliver even the most complex of play structures.

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