Balfour Street Pocket Park

Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture: Balfour Street Park is a small scale neighbourhood park in Sydney created within the existing geometry of local streets and partial closure of Balfour Street. The pocket park forms a gateway to the new urban village of Central Park, formerly Carlton United Brewery, to become a pedestrian connection between the inner city suburbs of Chippendale and Broadway. Balfour Street Pocket Park has a rich material quality of brick, stone and concrete. Brick is used as a decorative medium in a series of colours and patterns, inspired by the material quality of the brewery buildings, workers terraces and old factory buildings that form the historic backdrop. Concrete elements complement the textured brick surfaces, and relate to the modern insertions throughout the neighbourhood and bring a contemporary feel to the park.

The park surfaces are finely crafted, both in conception and execution. Brick’s dimension and ease of handling has enabled a crafted, handmade quality for the park that is at the same time robust and timeless.

The central feature is a brick swale that acts as a collection point for stormwater from the streets above the park, and forms a visual link to the movement and treatment of water within the old and new urban environment. The brick swale curves gently down from the pavement level into a traditional half pipe shape, which breaks down along its length into a mini wetland. Within the swale, the paving is manipulated to break the surface – forming ripples in the water flow. Unique lighting along the swale provides a point of orientation and interest through the park day and night.

An assortment of different bricks, contrasting but complementary, forms the main paved surface of the park, at the O’Connor Street entrance. The brick is again laid on edge, to give a finer pattern, a stronger pavement, and to relate to traditional brick laying methods. The mix creates a rich weave of colour and pattern.

A patchwork of paving at the end on the park draws together all the materials used in the park and surrounds – sandstone and brick from the heritage buildings in the brewery site, trachyte from the old kerbs, and glass pieces that reference the bottles used by Carlton United Brewery.

Landscape Architecture: Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture
Location: Balfour Street, Chippendale, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Completion Date: 2010
Construction Cost: A$350,000
Area: 640m2
Client: City of Sydney Council
Collaboration: Sue Barnsley Design, Peter McLean Lighting Art + Science
Photos: John Platt, Kyal Sheehan
Text: Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture
Awards: Holbury Hunt Award 2010 – Urban Design/Outdoor Spaces

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