11 Sep 2018

The importance of play is often underestimated – seen as something that we should leave behind as we mature, something we should ‘grow out of.’ At Urbis, we understand the value of play. It is essential for development and a key part of how children (and adults) learn and grow.

Our #cityshaper team played a key role in the redevelopment of the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct in Queensland. Our very own – John Donoghue, Associate Director, helped to craft Kershaw Gardens as part of the revitalisation of the Precinct. This project centred around two elements: a space to play and a community gathering space of regional scale. Kershaw Gardens includes a state of the art playground and, in particular, a ‘Super Sphere.’ The article below takes a closer look…

The design is fresh and fun with various areas for visitors to play, including a water-play component that takes advantage of the local climate. We felt the project needed a signature piece to ensure a defining landmark for the site: The Super Sphere. This world first play experience was developed in collaboration with Urbanplay and Kompan and it transforms the area from ‘just another park’ to an exciting destination.

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With five colourful levels, the never-before-seen Super Sphere recently installed in Rockhampton is a world first for playground technology. Bursting with over 150 activities, the sphere is a revolution in the world of play.

The Super Sphere (renamed as Wyatt’s Wonder Web) was originally designed for New York’s Central Park, but is now situated in the newly refurbished Kershaw Gardens in Rockhampton. The architecturally-inspired sphere features over 150 play activities, has three slides at varying heights, and tunnels running underneath the Sphere. Kids can climb up the sphere through various obstacles, including climbing ropes, ladders and swinging hammocks. 

Delivered by Brisbane-based playground company, Urban Play, in collaboration with KOMPAN Playscapes, Urbis, JM Kelly and the Rockhampton Regional Council, the play structure is set to be a major drawcard for the Rockhampton Region. 

The Managing Director of Urban Play, Ben Urban, stated, “We are absolutely ecstatic to deliver this world-first playground. This play piece sets the benchmark for playground design, not only in Australia, but also on a global scale.”

Image: Urban Play

Urban Play has grown into one of the most reputable playground suppliers in the Australian market, completing over 7000 playspaces throughout Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Proudly representing the world’s longest-serving and most prestigious playground manufacturer, KOMPAN Playscapes, the collaborative team of industry professionals have been planning, designing and developing memorable playgrounds on a daily basis for over 40 years. The team work hand-in-hand with each client throughout the entire process, providing specialist design input, liaising with suppliers and contractors, and consulting with the community and stakeholders.

Rockhampton Region Deputy Mayor Councillor Cherie Rutherford said Wyatt’s Wonder Web has already generated plenty of hype around the re-opening of Kershaw Gardens. “We are thrilled to have worked with Urban Play and KOMPAN to build this incredible piece of play equipment, which will certainly put Kershaw Gardens on the map as one of the greatest recreational spaces for kids in Queensland,” she said. “The Wonder Web is a centrepiece of our world class redevelopment and, whether it’s people travelling through Rockhampton or for the families that live here, it will leave a lasting impression for generations to come.”

Image: Urban Play

Kershaw Gardens is a jointly funded $16 million project in partnership with the Queensland Government, including $5 million from the Building our Regions program, as well as National Disaster Recovery and Relief Arrangement funding.

Since its establishment in 1988, Kershaw Gardens has been described as Rockhampton’s “big backyard” for people of all ages to enjoy. Kershaw Gardens sustained significant damage as a result of Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February 2015, and after many months of clean up, community consultation and planning, Council resolved to completely redevelop the area to bring it back to its former glory.

The project is focused around two key elements: a playspace and a community space on the regional scale. “The design is fresh and fun with various areas for visitors to play, including a waterplay component that takes advantage of the local climate. We felt the project needed a signature piece to ensure a defining landmark for the site: The Super Sphere. This world first play experience was developed in collaboration with Urban Play and KOMPAN, and it transforms the area from ‘just another park’ to an exciting destination,” said Mr Donoghue, Associate Director of Urbis.

Wyatt’s Wonder Web was named after former Rockhampton Councillor Tom Wyatt, the Director of Parks, who was responsible for the initial development of Kershaw Gardens.

This project marks an exciting time for the playground industry in Australia, with Urban Play at the forefront of innovative play equipment and designs that will ensure Australia’s children grow up with the best playgrounds in the world.

Image: Urban Play

This article was originally published by Outdoor Design Source, to read the article or to find out more, click here