Blaxland Common

“The striking centrepiece of one of Sydney’s favourite play spaces”

Executive Summary

Blaxland Common Playground is a unique and innovative play space, set on three hectares overlooking the Parramatta River at Homebush Bay, adjacent to Sydney Olympic Park. Fleetwood Urban was contracted to deliver several key elements of the award-winning site, including its iconic Giant Swing.

Client

Perfection Landscapes and Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Completed

2012

State

NSW

Design Partners

JMD Design

Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail, Develop, Discover

Fleetwood Involvement

With the architects genuinely concerned about the swing’s feasibility, a proven track record in delivering complex play spaces saw Fleetwood chosen to help bring the design to life. After extensive consultation between the design and engineering teams, we constructed the main curving beam from heavy gauge pipe, which we rolled using specialist equipment. We then formed and detailed the column-top ‘springs’ by hand, and craned and installed the entire structure. This included site welding the columns to main beam (the design specified no visible bolts) and a final layer of paint on-site. The structure was completed successfully and in a timely manner, and JMD Design have expressed great admiration for the outcome.

More Project Information

1

From a design perspective, the Giant Swing was created to be the focal point of the entire playground – a sweeping framework for six swings and a climbing apparatus. Envisioned by landscape architecture firm, JMD Design, the vision was for a single, grand curving beam, supported by creative columns, each topped by spring-like spirals.

2

As much sculptural as structural, the Giant Swing presented significant mechanical and construction challenges. In fact, initially JMD Design were concerned it couldn’t actually be built. With its long sweeping shape, the balancing motion of each individual swing presented numerous difficulties, compounded even further by the site’s unstable ground.

3

As an unprecedented piece of play equipment, both in nature and scale, it’s fair to say delivering the Giant Swing required innovative thinking from start to finish. The materials and construction techniques had to be adapted especially for this highly bespoke project.

4

  • Main curving beam
  • Six individual giant swings
  • Support legs made from steel pipe, with fabricated ‘springs’ attaching them to the main beam
5

  • Non marine grade paint system
  • Mild steel
  • Modwood
  • Stainless steel wire netting
6

Blaxland Common is one of Sydney’s busiest children’s adventure playgrounds, something that brings with it all manner of risks and responsibilities. Whilst unquestionably an exciting engineering challenge, the complex and highly innovative nature of the Giant Swing structure meant considerable planning and testing needed to be undertaken to ensure it could safely withstand intense daily usage by hundreds, if not thousands, of families.

7

The Giant Swing is one of the most popular features in one of Sydney’s most popular adventure playgrounds. From early in the morning to late in the afternoon, the sound of children’s laughter fills the air. It’s a social magnet for young families all year round.

8

The Giant Swing exudes fun and happiness. From the moment you first lay eyes upon its striking and creative structure, it screams ‘play with me!’

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Awards

Award Name Location Year
Architizer A+ Award NY, Jury for Parks Blaxland Common 2013
NSW AILA Award For Excellence In Design Blaxland Common 2012