Sydney Park: Australia’s Best Public Space

Aug 20, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor

A new park built on the former Water Police site at Pyrmont in Sydney has been named Best Overall Project in the 2009 Public Domain Awards.

The park, which overlooks the Harbour on Pyrmont peninsula, brings together elements of the site’s industrial history and waterfront environment with more contemporary forms and materials, and was commended for its “apparent simplicity and exemplary coherence.”

Designed by landscape architects ASPECT Studios and constructed by Ford Civil Contractors for the City of Sydney, the project also won the prize for Best Project for NSW, and was joint winner in the Precincts Category.

The project recalls the site’s industrial history by retaining the low concrete wall along the waterside and using raw finishes on the new concrete ‘boomerang’ walls near the road.

The park gives the community access to the harbour with gradual level changes down to the waterfront, culminating in a rectangular amphitheatre defined by concrete forms. Sacha Coles, National Director of ASPECT Studios, said the win was a great honour for those who worked on the project, and also the local community, “who fought to claim this site as public space rather than see it turned over to development.”

The Public Domain Awards are held every two years to recognise the innovative and functional use of concrete to enhance the public domain, and are hosted by industry association Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA).

The 2009 Awards were judged by a panel of landscape and design architects, headed by Professor Catherin Bull of the University of Melbourne. Other jury members were Peter Poulet, the newly appointed Tasmanian State Government Architect; and Scott Taylor, a director of Terrain Consultants and a past president of the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.

*State winners
NSW* The new park on the former Water Police site, Pyrmont (ASPECT Studios)
*ACT* National Portrait Gallery (Johnson Pilton Walker/John Holland Group)
*VIC* Geelong Youth Activities Area, Waterfront Geelong (City of Greater Geelong/Convic Design)
*QLD* General Purpose North 4, University of Queensland, St Lucia (Richard Kirk Architect)
*WA* Bunbury Coastal Enhancement Project Stage 3, Bunbury (Hassell)
*SA* City Playspace, Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide (Taylor Cullity Lethlean)

*Streets* Bankstown CBD Bus Interchange, Bankstown, NSW (Tompkins/MDA Architects)
*Paths* Bunbury Coastal Enhancement Project Stage 3, Bunbury, WA (Hassell)
*Precincts (joint winners)* The new park on the former Water Police site, Pyrmont, NSW (ASPECT Studios) and Geelong Youth Activities Area, Waterfront Geelong, Vic (City of Greater Geelong/Convic Design)
Walls National Portrait Gallery, ACT (Johnson Pilton Walker/John Holland Group)
*Bridges* Tumbarumba Bridge, Wagga Wagga, NSW (Leighton Contractors)
*Public Artworks* Calder Woodburn Rest Area, Shepparton, Vic (BKK Architects)
*Sustainable Design* Macquarie University Central Courtyard, North Ryde, NSW (Hassell)

For more information on the CCAA, visit [“”:]

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