The Wigley Reserve Playspace and Fitness Hub is a bespoke and context driven design response that links in with the coastal zone of Glenelg and the surrounding Patawalonga precinct. This playspace has been designed to encourage children to push their boundaries and learn through discovery and active participation with engaging play elements including the feature bespoke climbing and slide structure which draws people in to engage, connect and explore.
The design of the playspace and fitness hub references the gentle sweeping and mounding dunes which previously inhabited the Patawalonga estuary region, celebrating the context to the waterfront and the surrounding activity within Glenelg. Utilising a combination of nature play, explorative and elevated play, this playspace has seen great success in attracting a wide range of demographics to participate, engage and connect at Wigley Reserve. As a regional playspace, providing an engaging and inclusive environment was paramount to the design. The playspace offers a variety of opportunities for both junior and senior play, welcoming interaction by people of all ages and abilities.
Throughout the design process, JPE Design Studio worked closely with Council and the local community, engaging them regularly to help form ideas that enriched the design outcome and ensured a strong sense of ownership of the designs was achieved. Council staff also engaged four local primary schools and their students to brainstorm ideas and key design features they would like to see incorporated into the playspace. These ideas helped inform the development of three different concept plans that were presented back to the community for feedback and input.
The playspace also consists of a carousel, in-ground trampolines, a log swing, log climbers and a large shade structure which drapes and folds to reveal waterfront views, opening up to the marina and creating ample shade and shelter from the elements. New amenities and infrastructure including seating, BBQs, and shelters also give back to the community and provide valuable space for social activity, encouraging visitors to stay longer and visit regularly.
Natural materials, including those that reflect coastal materiality such as timber cladding, steel and tones of blue and silver were deliberately selected to blend in with the surrounding coastal context and to create a sense of calm for children with spectrum disorders. The space also contains substantial new areas of hardy coastal planting to provide seasonal interest, increased biodiversity, and heightened sensory engagement.
Fostering an understanding of place and allowing imaginations to run wild, the transformation of Wigley Reserve into a sensory playspace and fitness hub has resulted in an activated and connected community precinct. With a focus on improving community health and wellbeing, Wigley Reserve has brought an unprecedented level of vitality and activity to this family reserve and has become a popular waterfront destination. Supported by the nearby Tram Side Kiosk and the large turf kickabout area, the Wigley Reserve Playspace and Fitness Hub provides an exciting waterfront destination for community connectivity.
Landscape Architecture: JPE Design Studio
Project location: Wigley Reserve, Glenelg North SA 5045
Year completed: October 2020
Photo credits: David Sievers