Leichhardt City Council is implementing a program to build three new childcare centres by 2022 to meet growing demand. One of these centres is located on the southern edge of Leichhardt Park and designed to accommodate sixty children.
Corkery Consulting was engaged by Leichhardt Council to prepare the design concept, detailed design and documentation for the outdoor play areas associated with the childcare centre, working in collaboration with Dillon Savage Architects.
Design of the outdoor areas has provided a coordinated play opportunities for children across a range of age groups. The scale of spaces, types of play opportunities and materials used have been designed for each age group.
A number of site challenges were also addressed, including constrained drainage created by the flat site, existing mature trees on the boundary and soil contamination.
Client: Leichhardt Council
Location: Leichhardt Park NSW Australia
Images: Corkery Consulting
We prepared a concept design that created three defined outdoor spaces to provide play opportunities for three distinct age groups that included 0-2 years, 2-3 years and 3-5 years. The scale of spaces, combination of play opportunities and materials used were designed to meet the needs of each age group.
Design of the outside play areas included regular consultation with Council’s child care manager to ensure knowledge gained from existing child care facilities was incorporated in the new facilities. The outdoor spaces have been designed to encourage children to engage with natural materials that include sand, water, timber, sandstone boulders, stone paving and plants. The play spaces will challenge the imagination of children and
allow them to develop physical and social skills as well as an appreciation of nature. Use of traditional play equipment has been kept to a minimum to encourage imaginative play.
A strong focus was placed on the provision of shade throughout the play areas. This includes shade cloth together with a timber slat structure that incorporates a timber fence to provide visual screening of the adjoining car park. The outdoor play areas are enclosed by security fencing with a double gate system at the main entrance to the building, which is defined by a laser cut metal arch.
Contamination of the site by previous activities is addressed by a Remedial Action Plan that called for excavation of contaminated soil, installation of an
impermeable membrane and placement of imported top soil throughout the planted landscape areas. Detailed landscape design included definition of top soil depths to allow successful growth of plants combined with sub-soil drainage.
Planting within the outdoor play spaces was generally limited to ground covers, native grasses, shrubs and vines. Selection of species took account of potential allergies while presenting children with opportunities to experience different colour, textures and scents. Special containers were designed for fruit trees to provide low shade and produce fruit.