This project is a key component of Sustainable Sydney 2030, harvesting stormwater from the Newtown catchment; the measure of 850 million litres/year. Water is captured, made good and returned viable through a dynamic, new waterscape; at all times connecting park users to the water narrative of capture, movement and cleansing.
The bioretention wetlands provide significant value to the park as both an environmental & landscape resource. The design builds upon the existing water bodies; strengthening the connection between them, visually & functionally. Park users engage with processes of the water treatment system through a series of new pathways, nodes & open spaces that punctuate the wetlands at strategic locations.
The landscape is intrinsically linked with the new wetlands & teaches visitors how water is captured from the Munni Channel, cleansed & made good again for reuse. Strategically the wetlands have improved the landscape setting, environmental amenity, habitat value & provided opportunities for interactive play & education.
The landscape design is intrinsically linked with the water treatment processes. This integrated & embedded approach serves to reveal the functional system of water management & provides a richly layered landscape of multiple functions, characters & views.
Central to the design are access spines which articulate a sequence of movement pause & rest points, with views across the wetland system & into the parklands. This is supported by a secondary hierarchy of access, proving a more intimate experience with habitat & water.
Habitats for animals & plants are enhanced at Sydney Park as part of the project, through new tracks & trails, landscape remediation & also a direct benefit from the new bioretention wetlands.
The interpretation strategy for the project seeks to uncover and express the park’s water story and the healing nature of the new bio-retention systems. The series of inlets and outlets craftfully deliver water flows through the site via steel culverts, cantilevered terracotta half-pipe fingers, waterfalls, and water spouts; a series of elements that combine to reveal the often-hidden processes of water.
These features are fully integrated components within the fabric and structure of the park’s hydraulic systems, with a materiality the references the site’s industrial past.
The project identifies with the City’s 2030 vision of sustainability, providing many elements that support a social & environmentally sustainable future for Sydney. At its core design function; the effective harvesting of urban stormwater to reduce potable water use & improve water quality. Beyond this are principles interwoven; environmental protection, social advancement & economic prosperity. These principles guide the design, its construction, maintenance & end-of-life disposal options.
The project has successfully improved water quality & habitat, provides a sustainable supply for the park & its wetlands, reduced potable water consumption; whilst enhancing the parkland as a major recreation destination.