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Architecture: Ballast Point Park Amenities

August 16, 2011

Two amenity buildings constructed from recycled seat belt webbing, designed by Choi Ropiha, add textural detail to this harbourside park in Sydney.

Ballast Point Park is located on a prominent headland overlooking Sydney Harbour. A former Caltex lubricant and oil storage facility, it sits at the tip of the suburb of Birchgrove in Sydney’s inner west.

The restoration of Ballast Point to a new public harbourside park reveals and draws interest from the history of the site by retaining the cliff faces where ballast was once quarried by the early settlers, as well as retaining the footprints of the storage drums which previously occupied the site.

The architectural components include two amenity buildings that feature light-filled, naturally ventilated spaces and a series of finely crafted shade structures that bring a fine-grain textural quality to this otherwise post-industrial context. The shade structures themselves are formed with bright yellow recycled seat belt webbing. The webbing is woven in an interlocking pattern to allow full shade in the middle of the day and dappled light in the morning and late afternoon.

The project was commended at the 2009 Australian Institute of Architects NSW awards, and the overall park received the 2010 International Waterfront Centre Award. The park was also highly commended in the adaptive reuse category at the 2010 National Trust Heritage Awards, NSW.

Team Choi Ropiha & McGregor Coxall

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