Olivia’s state-of-the-art inclusive and interactive playground: Changing the way families play
Last month the Human Habitats Landscape team delivered our first 1.27ha playground in Olivia Estate located to Melbourne’s west. Olivia estate is over 45ha, and will comprise an estimated 700 new homes. It is anticipated that by the estate’s completion in 2024, Olivia will ultimately be home to over 2,000 residents.
Creating the park was a genuine collaboration between developer Marantali Pty Ltd, Lark Industries, Human Habitats and Winslow – an exciting exercise in designing and building an interactive playspace.
Marco Liali – Director of Marantali envisioned a park that created a series of ‘rooms’ framed by avenues of tree plantings, lending structure and hierarchy to the space. When working with such a large area of open space, a sense of enclosure and proportionality was vital to creating an environment that people would want to engage with and spend considerable time in.
A key element of the design of the park was integrating an interactive play zone to facilitate varied and wide-ranging play opportunities for audiences of all types. As a passionate developer with a keen interest in emerging worldwide design trends, Marco Liali travelled to the Netherlands along with play consultant and supplier Ryan Longford from Lark Industries to see these world-leading interactive items in their home country. This led to the inclusion of interactive play equipment unseen anywhere else in Victoria – the Yalp Sona and Yalp Memo. The driving force behind the park’s success as a state-of-the-art inclusive and interactive play space is its use of this latest play technology.
These interactive elements are, however, by no means the only play items in the park, with an assortment of engaging and fun traditional play equipment provided in close proximity, catering to a wide range of users and age groups.
Complimenting these items is an action-packed cycle race track for budding cyclists and scooter riders to test their skills. Inspired by classic racetracks and the drama and thrill of motorsports, the pedal-loop track at Olivia includes multiple landscapes to move through as one makes their way around the loop, with a combination of straights, corners, a forest and chicanes providing immersion in a fun and engaging theme.
Whatever the age group, program or time of year, the Olivia Estate park will no doubt become a great destination for adjacent residents, as well as those residing in the surrounding area.
Human Habitats is proud to have played a leading role in crystalising the vision for this key piece of open space at Olivia. The HH Design Team have enjoyed the collaborative and collegiate aspect of delivering the project, working closely with Developer Marantali, Civil Engineer Creo Consultants, Contractors Winslow, and Playground Specialists Lark Industries.
Ryan O’Sullivan, CEO and Director of HH, commented, “it was a pleasure to accept the challenge of creating the initial conceptual ideas and to sell the vision. The early conceptual collaboration between Council, Client and Designer was important because this project pushed some boundaries. Joining forces to ask Melton Shire Council to think differently and offer something new was key, and at the end of the day, we all realise we’ve got a great outcome at Olivia”.
Darren Atkinson, HH Design Director commented that ‘projects such as this is why I became a landscape architect. It’s a privilege to design a park for a valued client and share in the excitement it brings to the residents and their visitors. Witnessing children using the playground and the park itself is rewarding. When reflecting on the design journey to achieve this moment, starting with a sketch in the office, collaborating with client, council and contractor, it’s satisfying to see the enjoyment these children experience on the ground’.
Ashley Tam was HH’s Landscape Architect for the delivery phase. As our man on the ground, and project Superintendent, he was very satisfied with the community’s initial feedback. Within one month post-completion, local opinion indicates everyone in the community loves the park. He commented “It’s good to see children and families using the space. It’s such an active area”.
Thank you to everyone involved in this exciting project, with a special thanks to our client Marantali for the continued opportunity to represent them. We look forward to watching the space as the gardens take hold and the community continues to activate the space.