Brompton Estate

“Collaboration triumphs over complexity”

Executive Summary

Since mid-2019, Fleetwood has worked with landscape architect GbLA to deliver a series of intricate outdoor structures at Brompton Estate – a leafy master-planned community about 40km south-east of the Melbourne CBD, developed by Wolfdene. Inspired by the natural setting and fauna at Brompton, the new structures were commissioned to enhance the existing greenspaces and provide exciting new places for the local community to gather, relax and play. Since the initial play project – known affectionately as the ‘Bandicoot’s Bum’ – was delivered in 2020, we have collaborated with GbLA on several more structures including a second ‘Lookout Tower’ play structure, two custom ‘Brompton’ shelters, a stepped deck and, most recently, a smaller ‘Gum Nut’ climbing structure. An excellent example of the benefits of early engagement, all structures at Brompton have been successfully delivered using Fleetwood’s DesignExecute2™ delivery process, from start to finish.

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Client

Wolfdene (Developer)

Completed

2022

Design Partners

GBLA Landscape Architects

Fleetwood Involvement

Landscape architects GbLA engaged Fleetwood to help realise their creative visions for the ‘Bandicoot’s Bum’ and ‘Lookout Tower’ play structures at Brompton Estate. We were involved from very early in the design stages of both, refining GbLA’s original hand sketches and taking them through detailed design and shop detailing to fabrication and, ultimately, expert installation on-site. From start to finish, we enjoyed a close working relationship with the GbLA design team who were involved in all key project discussions and decisions. In fact, it was one of the most collaborative projects we’ve ever worked on, with the finished play structures looking almost identical to the original hand sketches. Being involved so early, it gave us a full 6-9 months to finesse the designs and get them 100% correct before we moved into construction. This built up a high level of trust, which has since led to many more project collaborations across the growing Brompton community.

1

Compliance presented many challenges for the larger play structures, especially given the intricate designs involved small gaps, timber battens, round steel and entrapment gaps. From the largest details to the smallest, the design team was meticulous in ensuring seamless structures and suitable finishes that complied with all relevant play standards. The bespoke engraving along the handrails of the Bandicoot’s Bum play structure was a particular challenge. Featuring the poem ‘Benjamin Bandicoot’ by Banjo Paterson, it was put through every possible check and balance during the design phase, so it would be easier to deliver when we came to construction. It was tricky to create a natural-looking play structure from what, in reality, was a fabricated frame.

2

The unique and intricate designs at Brompton saw us working with elements and materials we wouldn’t usually use on play structures. Accordingly, we needed to be meticulous during construction. Detailed design drawings and shop detailing was absolutely crucial, with the team often working within millimetres to get everything right. Logistically, the installation of the Bandicoot’s Bum play structure was particularly challenging as it was located on top of a 2.5-metre elevated mound. The solution was to crane sections of the structure into place, one piece at a time. Another challenge was delivering the massive timber log and spiral wrap-around staircase at the centre of the Lookout Tower. To do it, our team had to procure a very particular log from the mill, which then had to be carefully milled into quarters and fixed to a crucifix frame. All of this was completed against a backdrop of persistent wet weather and very difficult ground conditions on site.

3

Brompton saw the innovative use of several materials, such as the rolled bar cladding featured on the lookout tower – something rarely used on play structures. During the fabrication stage, we had to roll these perfectly to achieve the particular look the client wanted. Working to such fine margins, we also set up bespoke jigs in the factory, allowing us to pre-assemble the structures to ensure everything fit together perfectly. The structures were then transported to the site in two halves, removing the need for on-site welding, something that would have been hugely problematic with the constant rain.

4

  • Custom ‘Bandicoot’s Bum’ play structure 
  • Custom ‘Lookout Tower’ play structure 
  • Custom shelters specific to Brompton Estate
5

  • Hardwood dressed timber
  • Galvanised steel
  • Corten steel
  • Rope
  • Web net 
  • Plastic slides
  • 20mm round bar
  • Talking tubes
  • Stainless steel telescope (handmade by Fleetwood)
  • Fireman’s pole 
  • Painted steel
  • Blown Perspex windows
6

While the structures were quite complex, their installation was relatively straightforward from a safety perspective. The main challenges were the elevated location of the hero play structure (set atop of a 2.5-metre mound) and the persistent rain experienced during the Victorian winter of 2020 which made the site quite muddy to navigate at times. We also had to ensure the ‘Bandicoot Bum’ play structure was lightning protected, as it was very tall. The installation team held toolbox talks every morning to run through the list of jobs for the day and run through the general safety checklist.

7

Brompton was a brownfield site before being acquired and developed by Wolfdene. This meant there were no established habitats or environments that needed specific protecting. We worked closely with project landscapers to ensure we created structures and spaces that would stand the test of time, and bring the development to life for generations to come.

8

As a new development, it was essential for the Brompton community to have places where families and friends could easily meet to enjoy the outdoors. The developers, Wolfdene, were particularly keen to cater to all age groups with family friendly spaces, exciting play experiences, BBQs, shade shelters and a toilet block. The masterplan also features a separate recreational park for teenagers where we delivered a custom yellow shade shelter.

9

The Brompton structures are highly creative and completely unique. Inspired by the stories of the space that surrounds them, their bespoke ‘one-off’ designs encourage families to get outdoors and explore more of their local community.