Highlands Sustainable Park

“A uniquely creative play structure, sustainable by name and nature”

Executive Summary

Highlands Sustainable Park is a unique play structure in Stockland's 'Highlands' community, north of Melbourne. Built almost exclusively using recycled materials that would otherwise have ended up in landfill - such as concrete, timber and steel from the Highlands development itself - it's the creative centrepiece of a 1.5 hectare public parkland that sets new benchmarks for sustainable play structure design and construction.

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Executive Summary

Highlands Sustainable Park is a unique play structure in Stockland's 'Highlands' community, north of Melbourne. Built almost exclusively using recycled materials that would otherwise have ended up in landfill - such as concrete, timber and steel from the Highlands development itself - it's the creative centrepiece of a 1.5 hectare public parkland that sets new benchmarks for sustainable play structure design and construction.

Fleetwood Involvement

Fleetwood Urban worked in close collaboration with the design and landscaping partners, as well as the project management team from Stockland. Our primary involvement was in the construction of ‘The Nest’ play structure and art play items, which were fabricated and delivered in less than seven months.

More Project Information

1

Unsurprisingly, everything about Highlands Sustainable Park had to be… sustainable. The central challenge for the design team at Spiire, therefore, was delivering this in an inspirational way that would still capture the imagination of the local community and its families. It called for a truly creative approach, exploring the possibilities (and limits) of working with unconventional construction materials such as sticks, rocks, reclaimed house bricks, concrete pipes and pillars. The final play structure design also featured carved logs, tree sculptures, timber animals, tunnels, slides, swings and musical instruments to help stir young imaginations, as well as shaded seating areas for parents to relax and an abundance of green, open space.

2

Whenever a project involves unconventional designs and materials, it typically requires an unconventional approach to construction. Rather than a complex and difficult problem, we saw Highlands Sustainable Park as an exciting creative challenge, bringing an open mind and ‘solutions first’ attitude to every stage to ensure an end result Stocklands could be proud of – and, Highlands locals would love.

3

Many innovative approaches to design and materials were used during the project, making it a beacon for sustainable play structures of the future. Examples include repurposing locally-sourced sticks as cladding, perforated panels that mimicked the silhouette of tree branches, using a spiral staircase to allow maximum headspace, together with the absence of central column to further enhance circulation space.

4

  • ‘The Nest’ spiral staircase and play tower
  • Carved logs, tree sculptures, timber animals
  • Shaded seating areas where parents can relax
  • Pipe tunnels, bridged walkways, slides and swings
5

  • FRP minimesh
  • Hot dip galvanising
  • Mild steel
  • Aluminium
  • Unseasoned hardwood
  • Rope
6

Working with recycled materials brings a number of unique risk considerations, especially when being repurposed in a playground setting for young children. Great care was taken to guarantee the cleanliness and safety of all materials used. Extra attention was also required to ensure finishings and cladding were fixed securely into place.

7

The entire play structure vision was driven by sustainability. But beyond the extensive use of recycled materials, the construction also incorporated a highly sustainable form of concrete consisting of fly ash – a by-product of the coal burning process – to reduce embedded carbon dioxide by 60%.

8

With its uniquely creative design, Sustainable Park is a social magnet for local families and the Highlands community as a whole. People love getting outside to spend time there.

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