Tensile designed, supplied and installed safety barriers for the Inglis Park playground at Newmarket Randwick, a development built on the site of the former Inglis stables.
The architects saw an opportunity to build on the significant thoroughbred racing history of the area with the Newmarket project. The playground, designed by Arcadia Landscape Architecture and built by Solutions Contracting, utilises the old sales ring from the site’s equine days.
The sales ring playground retains the famous 130-year-old Moreton Bay fig it sits under as a focal point. The original framework of the horse sales ring was also kept as the base for the suspended climbing and play structures.
As well as climbing platforms, the completed playground includes swings, slides, tunnels and a carousel, catering to kids of all ages.
As for any elevated play structure, a fall protection barrier for the playground was a must. The barrier needed to meet the required safety codes while adapting to the unique shapes and forms of the structure. This was where we came in.
Our brief for the safety barrier
For this project, we used Jakob’s stainless steel 40mm x 1.5mm Webnet mesh to form the barrier, which not only prevents falls but is also non-climbable.
Webnet is a malleable, fabric-like mesh material that can conform to just about any geometry, making it an ideal choice for kids’ playgrounds, which often involve organic or quirky shapes. The transparency of the mesh also means the barrier does not detract from the design in any way and allows for clear viewing.
With the playground being a bespoke design, creating the barrier required a highly customised approach. This meant we needed to understand the base structure so we could modify cable tensioning to suit.
When it comes to tensioning of cables, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is often a balancing act between applied load, deflection and distance. The trick is to come to grips with these three elements and their level of priority, so we know what effort to apply and where. For this project, as for many others we’ve been involved in, we needed to adapt our strategy to match the client and the project needs.
The finished result is a truly unique playground that retains substantial history and culture of the region. It provides the opportunity for hours of imaginative play for children, while protecting them from fall injury.
We also happen to think it provides a pretty good example how an adaptable and customised approach can create an ideal solution for a project with highly unique requirements!
Accolades for the playground
The sales ring playground and surrounding park have won numerous awards. These include:
- 2021 National Landscape Architecture Awards: Landscape Architecture Award for Play Spaces.
- 2021 AILA (Australian Institute of Landscape Awards) Award for Excellence in Play Spaces.
- Gold Award from Sydney Design Awards 2021.
- 2021 AILA Landscape Architecture Award for Parks and Open Spaces (Inglis Park).
Which just shows what an awesome project it was to have been a part of!