After gaining a covenant over the site to rescue it from commercial development, Penelope Seidler pursued the realisation of Harry's Park as a public bequest in honour of the late Harry Seidler's contribution to architecture. An internal competition was held within Harry Seidler & Associates to design a park that would celebrate Seidler's work and take advantage of the harbour setting. A strong urban connection was sought with the nearby Seidler buildings. The park was to be enduring, sculptural and feature simple endemic planting.
The site is bounded by the six-storey Seidler Office building to the north - a recipient of the NSW's prestigious Sir John Sulman Award - and a large fig tree precinct to the south. The eastern edge fronts Glen Street and looking through the site from north-west to south-west provides panoramic views over Luna Park from Lavender Bay to McMahon's Point, Miller's Point and Walsh Bay round to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Given the context, it has been designed as an urban park relating clearly to the four distinct edges of the site. The streetscape is allowed to flow into the site to invite the public into the park and towards the views. The park forms a paved forecourt to the Seidler Office building to the northern edge, intended to be like a pocket plaza to an iconic building. A vibrant sculpture by Australian Artist Robert Owen, Tracing Light - For Harry 3D/4D, is placed in the foreground to the façade to further invigorate the forecourt.
The blade wall facing the street is inscribed with the name Harry's Park and is a boarded off-form concrete finish to match similar dwarf walls to the ground level of the adjoining office building.
The major planting is located on the sunnier southern part of the site as a transition to scale of the fig precinct and to help ameliorate the strong southerly winds. A grove of distinctive native Angophora trees, or Sydney red gum, with their gnarly trunk forms and sparser foliage has been planted for this section of the park with an understorey of Lomandra shrubs. All planting is drought tolerant.
An intimate seating group is nestled among the planting together with a stepping stone pathway to connect to the future neighbouring precinct lookout. The trees offer sun protection in summer while allowing dappled sunshine and warmth in winter.
Along the escarpment edge overlooking Luna Park, a winding bench seat takes advantage of the harbour views. Its shape recollects the curved forms of the nearby 2A Glen Street Offices and Apartment in contrast to the rectilinear forms of 2 Glen Street. Two interleaved bench curves enclose another seating group backed partially by a perforated screen wall. This is smooth and curved, in contrast to the textured boarded straight, off-form concrete wall element which helps contain part of the park but is slashed by a slot to frame other harbour views. The escarpment edge is also planted again with Lomandra grasses to soften the edge of the site without obstructing views of seated patrons.
Efficient lighting is subtly integrated to reinforce the form of major design elements, accent signage and provide a 'subdued ambiance'.
RAIA NSW Architecture Awards, Urban Design Award, 2012
ERCO LEUCHTEN LUMASCAPE
SAM THE PAVING MAN
Rider Levett Bucknall
ERCO leuchten lumascape
Sam the Paving Man