Anyone who has spent some time in Sydney Park can tell you that it is one of the most beautiful places in the city to get amongst the great outdoors. Green spaces are more precious than ever for city folk who’ve spent a considerable amount of time cooped up indoors this year. With more than 40 hectares of rolling grassy hills and wetlands with the huge kilns of the heritage-listed brickworks site towering above, this site that borders St Peters, Newtown, Alexandria and Erskineville is popular for local humans and dogs alike.
Now, Sydney Park has been recognised for its contributions to the community and environment in an extensive international architecture awards program. The Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project took out a prestigious award in the 2020 Architizer A+ Awards in New York last week, winning the Jury Award in the Architecture + Water category.
If you’ve been for a walk through the park you’ve probably spotted the visible, sculptural aspects of the park’s ‘water infrastructure’. The project, commissioned by the City of Sydney and established in 2015, is from landscape architects and urbanists Turf Design Studio (they’re also behind the design of Spice Alley and the public domain outside Chippendale’s Central Park Building).
The chain of ponds and wetlands that circulate through the park are not only beautiful to be around; the water scheme diverts around 850 megalitres of stormwater for treatment and re-use every year. The design has also managed to preserve native animal habitats, with the wetlands now boasting the highest population of native bird species in the local area (with some areas of the largely pet-friendly park closed off to dogs to keep these feathered friends comfortable).
We’ll be celebrating this well deserved good news by lacing up our walking shoes and taking a perambulation by Sydney’s Park bubbling streams and checking on the progress of the latest crop of cygnets (black swan babies) at a respectable distance.