A free ‘outdoor theatre’ with natural amphitheatre seating, an intergenerational hub that draws people of all ages – the new skate park in Sydney’s inner city suburb of Alexandria is the latest recreational destination that is proving hugely popular with all sections of the community.
Designed by GroupGSA and Convic as an inclusive space, Sydney Park Skate Park is a drawcard even for those who won’t be dropping into a three-metre bowl anytime soon. The location of the skate park allows everyone to enjoy the skating action, much like an outdoor theatre.
"We didn't want the skate park tucked away out of view. We located it right on Sydney Road so that activity in the park is visible from the street. On the other side, a grassy hill creates a natural amphitheatre, where people can sit, have a picnic and check out the thrills and spills playing out below," GroupGSA project design director Steve Hammond explained.
GroupGSA's landscape architecture team worked closely with specialist skate park designers Convic on the project. Positioned next to an existing children's bike track, the skate park accommodates a progression of spaces from beginner level up to an Olympic-standard deep bowl, and caters to wheels of every kind, including bikes, scooters and roller blades.
"Through consultation with the skateboarding community, we identified that the deep bowl would widen the skate park's appeal and add the potential for hosting competitions," Hammond said.
GroupGSA’s clever design integrates local elements into the skate park. For instance, the surrounding park has been woven into the sports facility with trees and garden beds within the skate park breaking up the hard landscape and connecting visually to the surrounding green. Brick paving – a nod to Sydney Park's iconic brick chimney stacks – defines the spectator spaces and provides a visual distinction between skating and non-skating areas.
"We spent a lot of time working on colour," Hammond said. "We settled on a yellow palette that is subtly used in the concrete to break up the grey. Pops of colour are used on the skate rails and bowl edges and amplified on the shade shelters."
While the vibrant shade shelters draw spectators inside, timber seating adds warmth and interest. At night, integrated feature lighting enlivens the plaza and floodlights extend the facility’s use by creating a safe environment for all.
The new skate park has become a popular attraction for the local community, with people of all ages drawn to the expansive facility.
City of Sydney's senior design manager Lisa Dodd says the new skate park has delivered on the City's ambitions, creating an intergenerational hub.
"GroupGSA's landscape design has been the key to creating a space where all community members feel welcome," Dodd said. "It really adds value to the wider park."
Photos: Simon Wood