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2015 is shaping up as a good one for the team at Channel Mag. There are lots of exciting things happening on the North Shore and one we are thrilled about is the all new Playground that will be built during the year near Takapuna Beach on the (Gould) reserve just off The Strand.
It is no secret that we have been huge supporters. From the time we discovered the generosity associated with this project from Takapuna locals Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve we decided to give them all the support we could. I am thrilled to now be a member of the Trust they have set up to build the playground and then gift it to the people of the North Shore and Auckland.
In mid-January it was a thrill to see the concept plans that have been produced by playground designer Philippa Bollond working closely with the council parks and recreation team. They are sensational. The two parties have worked very well together to come up with a design that will fit perfectly with the very special environment. This is something that Philippa is passionate about as well – ensuring that the design and materials fit with the surroundings.
While at the time of writing the plans still needed the stamp of absolute final approval from the Local Board, I thought it timely that we do a piece on the design for our readers. I put these questions to Philippa in late January.
AIDAN BENNETT: You must be thrilled with how this is all coming together? It is clear you share the same planning desires as the council parks and recreation team.
PHILIPPA BOLLOND: Being an indépendant designer and play specialist I have been fortunate enough to work with a variety of councils throughout the country and in this case I have worked closely with council's parks adviser Paul Duffy to produce a design that all stakeholders would be happy with.
AB: You have considerable experience in designing some special playgrounds around the country. What are some of the recent projects you have done that are particularly special?
PB: Hamilton Lake is my most recent playground design. It features a large playground with two towers that have giant slides at different heights descending from them.There is the largest outside water play feature in NewZealand incorporated into the play space with six water stations and two separate channels that children can play throughout.
AB: You must love the setting for this project?
PB: You couldn’t ask for a nicer setting. The beautiful beach and natural surroundings provide many play opportunities from a designers perspective and offers a great space to design a playground which will enhance an already stunning location.
AB: Using materials that fit in with the surroundings has clearly been a big focus of this Takapuna Beach playground?
PB: I have tried to design a playground using timber and with a coastal theme to fit in with the natural environment. The use of plastic and bright colours has been limited and replaced with more natural looking products such as timber and sand. The use of artificial grass as the safety surface, has been used to blend in with the environment. The intent of the design of the playground is to provide a playground that fits into the natural setting and not compete with it.
AB: What are the key features of the design that you are excited about? (maybe provide a run-down of the main pieces here – a bit of detail).
PB: The playground features a large tower to look like a light house with slides from various levels connected by a bridge to a large rope tower where children can climb and sit in pods at the top. The playground has been designed to be an all accessible playground allowing for access throughout for all users and care givers.
There is a roundabout that will fit three wheel chairs along with other users at the same time.
The junior area features a mouse house with a turning wheel, sand and water play area and a basket swing. Natural play using logs for jumping and balancing has been provided under the large pohutakawas which have hammocks attached at three locations under the trees to allow kids to lie in the shade and look up into the canopy above.
AB: Who else is involved in the design and planning phase with you?
PB: Helen Melsop is the landscape architect who helped create the layout and special landscapes features of the design. Simon O'Connor from Sentinel Planning is the planner who will prepare the resource consent and deal with the planning side of the project.
AB: I understand your role is to project manage the playground right through to completion, when the trust will hand it over to the council?
PB: Yes I have been engaged to design and project manage the playground through to completion. This is essentially a turn-key project whereby upon completion council will pick up all ongoing maintenance of the playground.
AB: Why is this going to be one of the best playgrounds in the country?
PB: I hope it will be a playground that will serve Takapuna well. It will offer a diverse range of inclusive play opportunities for many ages and abilities where children can play together. The natural setting provides an environment where the imagination can go wild and one can pretend to be a captain of a ship standing in the crows nest of the main mast whilst looking out to sea, or descend down some large slides, make sandcastles or lay under the shade of the fantastic pohutukawa's . It is a space where children can spend the day at the beach and have a different experience to what other playgrounds can offer.
The Playground does need your support...
The Takapuna Playground Trust is seeking your support as well. While Jackie Kerridge and Chris Reeve have pledged their own funds to the project, the trust is seeking donations from individuals, families and organisations who would like contribute. Rotary clubs and the like have already indicated that they will be raising funds for the project. The estimated final cost will be around the $500,000 mark.
Donations can be pledged by contacting the trust via myself... firstname.lastname@example.org or you can do this easily via our GIVE-A-LITTLE fundraising page that has just been set up... https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/takaplayground
Channel Magazine: Issuu 51 February 2015