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A local destination and play space in the heart of Keith Hay Park

This work is at the vanguard of playscape design, representing a new approach which is led by design rather than simple placement of off the shelf play equipment.

The brief was to create a local destination play space for the surrounding Puketapapa community, which is well connected to the surrounding suburban fabric.

The small foot print of the play space required it to be fenced or buffered from the adjacent sport fields along with the busy car park. A lack of activity and surveillance during the weekdays required an approach which would ensure elements are robust and readily maintained.

A continuous sweep of astro-turf contains the space visually and supports a broad range of play value opportunities including a number of programmed elements such as slides, ropes and climber holds. It also supports a much wider range of creative play experiences such as rolling, jumping, clambering and ball play.

The Opus design team developed broad objectives for the development of this space, addressing a number of key considerations, including:

  • Play Value: Ensure users can engage in a broad range of play types including physical or active play, cognitive play and social play.
  • Accessibility and Participation: Employ universal design principals to ensure the space and elements are usable and assessable by people of any age and ability.
  • Positive Challenge: Ensure the space features a range of graduated risks and challenges to enable users to learn new skills, including adaptability and resilience.
  • Safety Through Design: Ensure the play experience is free from unacceptable risks including entrapments and crush points, along with design faults such as poorly placed play apparatus which conflicts with desire lines.
  • Context: Ensure the play space is well integrated into the surrounding context and reflects local character, culture and identity.­­

This unique ‘playscape’ is a distinctive, cohesive facility which is integrated into the surrounding landscape setting.