Jun 11 2020, by Fleetwood Urban
‘Pipe’ dream becomes a wonderful reality
Fleetwood delivers unique play experience at Pipemakers Park
Originality. It’s one of life’s most powerful forces, especially when it comes to designing memorable play structures for young people. Fresh ideas, creative features, new experiences – they’re exciting and inspiring in equal measure. Yet it continues to be a common misconception that delivering high quality and unique play experiences must also be prohibitively expensive. Not true!
With the right team and processes behind you, it’s amazing what can be achieved within virtually any budget. We see it every day with our inhouse DesignExecute2™ (DE2) delivery model, helping to make seemingly undoable projects ‘doable’ by removing obstacles, identifying efficiencies and generally streamlining the entire process from start to finish.
Over the years DE2 has helped us create a huge variety of unique and award-winning play structures, often within surprisingly tight timeframes and budgets. In fact, we’re working on exactly such a project right now for Maribyrnong City Council at Pipemakers Park in Melbourne. Council is over the moon with our customised play concept that goes far beyond their original expectations.
The rejuvenation of Pipemakers Park
Not far from the famous Flemington racecourse, the eight-hectare public reserve at Pipemakers Park was once a major industrial hub (it was home to one of the first reinforced concrete pipe works in Australia, hence its name) and is of national historical, social and architectural significance. As part of a broader rejuvenation including lawns, paths and public amenities, our brief was to design and then deliver a unique sculptural nature play space to fit within the rich industrial heritage of the area. All within a very tight budget.
Unique heritage calls for unique design
Originality and creative relevance have been two of the most critical aspects at Pipemakers Park, as Fleetwood Design Technician Mark Jol explains. “Historically we know councils often have quite restrictive budgets for new play spaces,” Mark says. “As a result they perhaps don’t even entertain the possibility of creating a truly original solution. But in this case, we’ve been able to offer something that’s 100% unique and still fits the budget perfectly. It was really important to do that, as we want to let the amazing industrial heritage of the area shine though. That’s the beauty of an end-to-end process like DE2.”
As Mark points out, the final design was created to reflect the unique character of Pipemakers Park itself. “Everything is circular, and the play structures are designed to look like trees so they sit inside the existing treescape of the park. The result is this really memorable and iconic structure built specifically for that space. That’s the beauty of bespoke structures – they fit into the beauty and heritage of the area and deliver a play experience that actually harks back to the surrounding history. That’s a very special thing for the community.”
“We began with this simple idea, just some lines and sketches on a piece of paper. Then we turned that idea into a formal sketch with 3D modelling, shop detailing before moving into the actual fabrication and installation of these wonderfully creative elements. Taking pipes and turning them into trees, and using those trees to create a series of highly original play structures for kids, and even adults, to enjoy for years to come – it’s just fantastic,” he says.
“When you look at a space like Pipemakers Park, it shows there’s really no need to undersell your project by going for standard, off-the-shelf play solutions,” Mark says. “It doesn’t tell a story, nor has it had hours of thought and creation put into the design. At Pipemakers Park we’ve been able to give Council everything they wanted and so much more. We’re really proud of the result. Local families and kids are going to love it!”
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