Pirrama Park at Pyrmont, designed collaboratively by ASPECT Studios, Hill Thalis and CAB Consulting, brings the formerly alienated public land of the Water Police site into the public realm. The collaborative design for the City of Sydney began with the Master Plan and continued through detailed design and documentation from 2005-2008.
The 1.8 hectare waterfront urban parkland restores the powerful relationship of the city to the water and delivers unique, waterside community facilities, innovative sustainable components including solar energy and far reaching storm water (WSUD) initiatives.
The multi award winning design provides a variety of places for harbour side enjoyment. It is structured by a shared pedestrian and cycle path which anchor a series of park rooms and multiple paths. This waterfront promenade is the backbone to the park, and an important link in the 14km network of harbour side open space. Significant marine engineering at the harbour edge created a sheltered bay and reveals and interprets the former shoreline of the site.
The park’s plan contrasts the natural and man-made, which are interpreted by a distinct ground plane and planting. As a result the spatial experience of the Point and Green, the Grove, the Sheltered Bay, the Playground and the Community Square, combine to give the park its experiential richness.
The park creates recreation opportunities along the waterfront, offering the opportunity to step down and engage with the water. It features a public square at the waters’ edge, with its canopy, café, toilets and indented bay. This sunny, sheltered place can accommodate a range of public uses including cultural events and performances, meetings, markets, festivals and the like, appropriate to the evolving urbanity of the area.
The architectural elements include a steel stair hung from the sandstone cliff face and three shade pavilions. A canopy and belvedere help define a landscaped square at the harbour edge termination of Harris Street.
The Canopy and Belvedere provide a welcoming entrance and civic-scaled shelter for the new two-hectare Pirrama Park in Pyrmont, announcing its presence to city and harbour and adding to Harris Street’s rich sequence of urban spaces, community and public buildings dotted along its length.
The lofty Canopy and grounded Belvedere are complementary structures that overlap in plan and section. The Canopy’s north end provides a grand protected entry into the park, while its south end extends over the Belvedere to provide a more intimate yet elevated viewing terrace.
The Canopy provides generous shade and shelter to the elements, and becomes the architectural symbol of the park. Sheltered by its copper parasol, the undulating timber-battened soffit follows the section of the alternating profile of the trusses.
The Belvedere seamlessly enlarges Harris Street’s footpath. Beneath the Belvedere are compacted the functional elements of the park services, public toilets and a café / kiosk.
Together the structures are enlivened by human occupation. Whether walking along the footpath, perched against the belvedere balustrade, snacking in the café, drinking from the bubblers, or sitting in the shade, the architecture forms the dignified backdrop to urban life, to quiet solitude and happy socialisation.
Pirrama Park illustrates the critical environmental issues our city faces. The waterfront platforms and steps, with text inlays provide visual clues of greater environmental challenges we face such as sea level rise. Stormwater filtration zones and bioswales and shade pavilions clad with solar panels provide tangible opportunities for community education and protect and harness our most critical resources of air, sun and water. The catchment-wide water strategy uses the site and surrounding streets to treat, store and reuse water collected from well beyond its site boundary.