Transforming this site from grassed sports fields dissected by stormwater drains to an estuarine wetland in the city centre, this project construes a hybrid of nature and culture that celebrates the site’s peculiarities and histories, both as a manmade performative ecosystem for vulnerable species and a civic landscape for a growing city.
It proposes ways to choreograph on-site visitors into a narrative that invites them to witness phenomenon peculiar to this landscape: freshwater creeks, intertidal lagoons, salt marsh, littoral rainforests, delta islands...
Selective demolition of existing sports field, courts and stadiums resolve the built fabric to four ‘remnant architectures’ which are adaptively reused in an experiential water narrative.
The land is cut and filled, lowering the ground down to it’s pre-colonial elevation within the tidal zone. Instead of designing the wetland, the wetland is allowed to design itself. 10 x 10m cuts form a grid across the park. The engineered concrete canals are removed and the water is allowed to flood the grid, eroding the soft sandy soil quickly through it’s own entropic logics. The same formal pattern that was employed to ‘reclaim’ the land, is now used to decolonise it.
Over time the push and pull of the tides, and the constant flow from the tributaries carve creeks and islands through the river delta effect. Endemic ecosystems are reinstated and allowed to self organise into ecotones across the park.
An ecotone is a transitional area between two biological communities; where two communities meet and integrate. From the word ecology plus tone, from the Greek tonos or tension, it is a place where ecologies are in tension. The adapted architectures act as ecotone between people and the landscape. A particular way of being with nature is defined.
The remnant architectures function as open public structures, with no specific human program defined. They possess timeless essential qualities; refuge, prospect, scale, light. They are suited to a range of situations, events and communities.
The park offers a civic scale of park land in the city which is currently lacking. Masterplanning strategies link the Interchange and the harbour to the beach through the park via pedestrian and cycle paths, which remain safe and dry during flood events. The amenity of the park should service a high density edge and engage with the surrounding schools via educational programs.
An increased amount of flood water is able to be retained on site, preventing the current flooding of the city between the park and the harbour when floodwater escapes overland.