WILD PLAY wins in Sydney
Sydney’s Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden has been named a winner in Australia’s 2018 National Landscape Architecture awards. Designed by ASPECT Studios the rugby field sized botanical adventure won in the play spaces category.
Located within Centennial Parklands Learning Centre, WILD PLAY is designed as a learning experience for children of all abilities aged 2-12. It’s filled with tracks and trails winding through densely planted mounds of shrubs and trees, with existing fig trees incorporated for seating and shade.
WILD PLAY lets kids adventure through an artesian water basin of creek beds and fountains, tunnel their way through thick bamboo, navigate a balancing course in the form of an ‘eel’, snaking its way around fig trees, or cross a swing bridge and test their mettle climbing a treehouse.
ASPECT Studios director, Sacha Coles, says “the bamboo forest, banksia scrub and caves are about hiding, being engulfed, ducking and weaving. The water play is about immersion, relief, joy and surprise. The treehouse is about the sublime – delightful terror! Pushing yourself to the limit of comfortable risk. And the tunnel is about imagining becoming a burrowing creature!”
The Garden aims to create ‘nature smart’ kids by engaging children with the environment through ‘WILD PLAY’ experiences. Children will learn to explore and observe the changing natural environment; guiding them on a path towards positive environmental awareness and encouraging environmental consciousness and stewardship.
“It is well documented that unstructured ‘wild play’ is an essential ingredient for healthy child development which enhances the prospect of each and every child fulfilling his or her potential,” said Anthony Dunsford, director of visitor experience at Sydney Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands.
“These formative opportunities are being lost for a variety of reasons – a lack of access to nature, fear of risk or the over scheduling of children’s free time.”