Spaces for imaginative play

Traditionally, learning was understood to be a classroom activity. Play, however, is an instinctive way in which children interact both with each other and the world around them. They learn to experiment, take risks and work together. They invent stories and worlds and find their place within them. At NBRS+PARTNERS we strive to create environments that encourage this outdoor learning to occur in a spontaneous, voluntary & joyful way.

Landscape Architect, Andrew Leuchars from NBRS+PARTNERS worked closely with North Sydney Demonstration School and the installing contractor to develop a concept for the refurbishment of an existing playground area.  The ground treatments were designed to a ‘Sea and Island’ play theme, encouraging the imagination of the children.

The landscape concept called for the replacement of extensive woodchip mulch surfacing with new coloured rubberised soft fall beneath existing fixed play equipment and synthetic grass to an existing open space area.  New sandpit areas, balance beams, sound tubes, sports field, group seating and garden areas were installed to enhance the play, learning and socialising opportunities. The ‘Sea and Island’ play theme was brought to life with stepping stone and balance beam connections across areas of blue soft fall animated with sea life. Numerous existing trees were retained and their surrounds surfaced with resin bound gravel to maintain useable seating areas while providing a porous finish to the benefit of the trees.  A range of finishes including sandstone, sand, timber, pebble and new gardens provide further interest.

The result of the improvements offer a much enhanced quality of play & learning, appearance and a readily maintainable outcome.

Andrew Leuchars, Landscape Architect, NBRS+PARTNERS


NBRS+PARTNERS is a people focused, research based studio that aims to enrich lives. By developing creative design partnerships our portfolio spanning public and private sectors exhibit an understanding of the people whose lives will be affected. Above all NBRS seeks to design environments that will have positive life changing affect. Architecture is the cornerstone of NBRS+PARTNERS global interdisciplinary design practice with expertise in Architecture, Heritage, Interiors, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, ESD and Research. Since 1968, NBRS has developed a research led international architecture practice based in Sydney Australia. NBRS is recognised for its innovative, award-winning design excellence and comprehensive expertise. Our design-minded, 50 strong team’s unique focus on creative partnerships helps to realise solutions, with extraordinary results.

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