Woolwich Dock

“Creating a stunning new harbour lookout on sandstone cliff-top, smoothly and safely”

Executive Summary

Located on the north side of Sydney Harbour, Woolwich Dock is a maritime precinct steeped in history. While the main attraction is the dock itself – a unique 300m-long cut in the sandstone cliffs – the cliff-top above provides sweeping views of the city, the Harbour Bridge and Cockatoo Island. The adjacent ‘Goat Paddock’ is also an ideal picnic spot. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority decided to make the most of the site’s natural geography by installing a stunning new community lookout. Renowned landscape architectural firm, ASPECT Studios, was engaged to provide the design and, thanks to our proven ability to execute complex high-risk installations of this type, Fleetwood was contracted to turn their design vision into reality.

Client

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA)

Completed

2009

State

NSW

Design Partners

ASPECT Studios

Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail

Fleetwood Involvement

Due to the challenging nature of the site, the planning stages were vital for the Woolwich Dock project. Once appointed, we collaborated closely with ASPECT Studios to refine their original design vision and identify the safest and most efficient way to deliver the lookout within budget. The approved design featured a stunning cantilevered platform, with materials and finishes hand-chosen to suit the industrial maritime context. This included universal steel beam sections, heavy gauge hardwood decking, mass concrete elements, micaceous iron oxide protective coatings (as used on the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and stainless steel fittings. For the gates that lead into the adjoining clifftop ‘Goat Paddock’, we used plate steel and picket gates to successfully achieve the aesthetic desired by the architect.

More Project Information

1

The lookout design was visually spectacular, although challenging to deliver. Created by ASPECT Studios, it featured a cantilevered platform that jutted out dramatically over the sandstone cutting, offering stunning views into the dock and caisson, 25m below, as well as Sydney Harbour and beyond. At an aesthetic level, the vision was to create a significant presence for the lookout, yet still in keeping with the scale and maritime character of the Woolwich Dock site. To prevent the risk of falls, we also needed to provide an added level of safety with the balustrade design – without making it look too obvious.

2

The cliffside location provided considerable logistical challenges, particularly in terms of site access, equipment stability and crew safety. Overcoming these required careful and ongoing planning. Set out was also critical as the curved structure needed to sit in perfect alignment with the precast concrete seat being installed by the landscape contractor, ASPECT Studios.

3

  • 25-metre high cantilevered viewing platform
  • Curved to sit in with a curved precast concrete seat
  • Handrails
  • Additional safety using handrails to reduce items dropping to the land below
4

  • Mild steel
  • Unseasoned hardwood
  • Concrete
  • Micaceous iron oxide paint system
  • Stainless steel
  • Precast concrete
5

While undoubtedly beautiful, the worksite was also dangerous. Working at heights on the edge of a sandstone cliff-face meant added safety measures were essential. We addressed each of the potential risks during the planning stages, so by the time our crews arrived on-site to install the lookout, the process ran smoothly and safely.

6

To minimise any damage to the local habitat the bulk of work was completed offsite, before installing the completed structure by crane. Sustainably-sourced Class 1 Australian hardwood was also specified.

7

The Woolwich Dock lookout re-engages the local community with its rich maritime past. It’s a place to meet, relax, explore and enjoy.

8

Views, views and more views. Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s most stunning backdrops for walkers, joggers, picnickers and day-trippers. Safe and easy to access, the completed lookout provides sweeping and previously-inaccessible views of the historic Woolwich Dock and glistening Sydney Harbour and has quickly become a must-visit destination on Sydney’s lower north shore.

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