What was once a sales ring to show thoroughbred horses has been transformed into a fun-filled playground in Randwick, Australia, by landscape architecture studio, Arcadia.
Steeped in history, the new ‘Inglis Playground’ is designed to celebrate the long and rich cultural heritage of the newmarket Randwick site, and its ties to the australian horse-racing industry and the history of Randwick in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The site of the original sales ring sits among century-old moreton bay fig trees, which Arcadia decided to preserve in the new playground.
The design team also chose to reuse the framework of the old ring to create a suspended climbing and play structure, with a giant double-helix slide as the focal point in recognition of the connection to the nearby Prince of Wales Hospital.
Respecting the history and reusing elements to preserve the heritage are central themes throughout the inglis playground.
Historic sandstone, recycled brick paving and salvaged timber from the stables have been incorporated into Arcadia’s design, joining public art and interpretive elements to creatively tell the precinct’s rich and remarkable story.
Elements that bring newmarket Randwick’s history to life include a timeline of pavement etchings and plaques, while play features use graphics and colors to reflect the horse parade and a select group of significant horses that were sold on the site.
An audio recording of a horse auction, recorded by the team at the last sale to occur on the newmarket site in 2015, has been used in an interactive auction box play element.
The playground is designed for use by children of all ages. The auctioneer’s box caters for toddlers under three years of age, with play features that will appeal to their unique needs and stage of development.
This area is set apart from the rest of the playground, to avoid the velocity of older children circulating through the space.
The lower terrace will provide hours of fun for pre-schoolers (three to five-year-olds) with swings, tunnels, low slides and a carousel.
The upper terrace, with its netting and climbing structures, suspended swings, timber walkway and giant double-helix slides, will appeal to the older and more adventurous kids.
The playground is designed so children will need to be a certain height to reach the next stage without parental assistance.
More daring children can be accompanied by their parents, who will find the play structures are designed for comfortable use by adults as well.
Many of the play features are accessible by children with all abilities, including the swings, swing baskets and carousel, to ensure all children have the opportunity to experience the playground.