Landscape architecture firm Arcadia was recognized for its efforts in creating the Sales Ring Playground for CBUS Property and won gold in the Sydney Design Awards 2021 in the landscape design category.
The playground is part of the new Inglis Park in the heart of Randwick. The playground is designed for children of all ages while also reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Newmarket site. The former thoroughbred horse sales ring is under a 130-year-old fig tree from Moreton Bay. The practice attempted to repurpose the “bones” of the original sales ring by using the scaffolding to create a hanging climbing and play structure and a focal point of the park.
Arcadia was also involved in the design of the Newmarket Dining Precinct, which was planned by Bates Smart as a master plan and won silver in the landscape design category. The practice was aimed at connecting people visually and physically with the history of the site, much like working in the Sales Ring playground.
Arcadia founder Alex Longley says the practice is honored to have received two awards in one category in its hometown.
“We’re so proud that The Sales Ring Playground won Gold and Newmarket Dining Silver in the Landscape Design category of the Sydney Design Awards,” he says.
“Cbus Property had the vision of creating a new, integrated neighborhood for Randwick that would use 30 percent of the site as public space. By using the rich history of the Newmarket location throughout the master plan and design process, Bates Smart and Arcadia were able to create a vibrant local hub where Randwick’s past thoughtfully blends into the present so that it blends in with the local Community feels embedded. “
Arcadia, together with the wayfinding and signage company Brand Culture, has carried out extensive research that has resulted in a number of public works of art and interpretive play elements on the playground. The “auctioneer box” is suitable for small children, while the ropes and slides appeal even to young people and adults.
The playground is closely linked to the Newmarket Dining District and offers visitors the option to either bring their own food or support local retailers. Visitors also have a range of seating options to choose from when supervising their children, including tiered seating within the playground, wooden decks, special children’s benches and tables for parties, seating under the fig tree, and adjoining outdoor seating with polished concrete tabletops and wooden benches.
In the interests of sustainability, the original climbing structure is peeled back so that the load-bearing pylons and roof supports hang the play elements above the ground. Historic sandstone salvaged from the original curbs and gutters of Young Street, recycled brick paving, and salvaged wood from the stables have been incorporated into the design of the playground. The playground is reminiscent of its horse auction days through the implementation of a tessellated horseshoe super graphic in the soft case and an audio recording of a horse auction, which was recorded by the team during the last horse sale on the Newmarket site, and in an interactive auction box game element.
Throughout the design process, Arcadia communicated with stakeholders including local residents, the adjacent public elementary and secondary schools, Randwick Community Garden, the previous owners, and the general horse racing community. For more information on the project, click here.