Bim’bimba Park

Parks & Open Space

LOCATION

Gainsborough Greens, Queensland

CLIENT

Mirvac

CONTRACTOR

Naturform

COLLABORATORS

PlayRope
City of Gold Coast
Berliner
Fleetwood
The Wood Bank
Matty G Inc

STATUS

Constructed

PHOTOGRAPHY

Linda Nguyen
Fletcher Photography (Aerial photos)

Bim’bimba park and playground is the final Jewel in the crown of the Mirvac masterplanned community Gainsborough Greens. The park had been planned as the last generous contribution from the developer to a flourishing community that has been established over the last 15 years. Most importantly the park provides the final missing piece of the jigsaw that connects a network of carefully planned open space throughout the estate.

Before commencing the design significant research was undertaken by the team studying other benchmark parks providing a similar regional offering in South East Queensland. Our team challenged the standard “off the shelf’ offering by studying the success and failures of these parks and in particular developing an analysis of the recreational capacity and “bang for buck” of various key elements. Some of the key outcomes of these comparison studies indicated the lack of a connecting thread driving the design, failure to embrace the benefits of undulating landform, and failure to provide genuine meaning with a clear united vision.

With a well established community liaison team within the Mirvac structure our team was offered a ready made platform for regular community consultation, feedback summarising community desires in relation to their vision for the park. This feedback was embraced and integrated into the early conceptual development of the project and continued to provide strong direction throughout the design development.

The inspiration for the park was to further develop an already established common thread of nature-based elements and play explored in previous stages of Gainsborough Greens, embracing the raw and natural beauty of the utilised materials while championing the local awareness of ecology and sustainability initiatives within an inspiring play and vibrant community space.

The vision included a number of key initiatives:
_To provide a clear and enticing arrival experience.
_To define a unique / bespoke landscape response that embraces the natural essence of the site.
_To provide and celebrate the final missing piece to the open space network of Gainsborough Greens
_To compose a series of engaging spaces that provide opportunities for all group sizes, ages and abilities.
_To encourage stewardship through integrated sustainability initiatives and community engagement.

A core design driver of the parkland was to massage an existing engineered landform to provide an undulating interesting landscape complimenting the rolling greens of the surrounding golf course and natural creek-lines while maintaining flood storage requirements in what is a low-lying area. Management of storm-water conveyance through the site connecting large offsite catchments set some clearly defined constraints that were embraced and threaded into the interactive landscape master-plan. A key component of the earthworks was to protect and nurture established trees and the lush vegetated creekline backdrop that cradles the park to the north.

At the core of the park is the community common green framed by sculptural seating walls for large gatherings, concerts , markets and other events. Butterfly roof picnic shelters align a pedestrian spine between the green and the playground. The significant landmark playground has explored the idea of play as a linear arrangement and seamless composition of natural play, proprietary play elements and landscape features. The concept initiates with toddler play transitioning from space to space through a totem timber forest with gradually more challenging, accessible, and engaging play elements finally reaching the pinnacle of the bottle tree tower and slide. Our team was driven by the idea that as a child grows and develops confidence, no matter what their ability is, they can take a step further along the play chain into a more challenging play experience. Teenagers are often overlooked or segregated in park and playground designs but the Form team considered this maturing as an important part of the evolution of the playscape and should be composed as an integral part of the whole. With this in mind the Teen hang was developed as part of the playground which includes half basketball court, handball courts, table tennis table, skate sculptures, music sound dock and “chilled” seating clusters.

The design continued the sustainable concept of recycled material and in particular this led to the substantial integration of site procured timber into the project. Extensive research into the appropriate selection and sustainable treatment of timber was required to address the Local Authorities concern regarding ongoing maintenance. A prominent feature of this research was the use of ancient Japanese charring technique called Shou Sugi Ban. The blackened timbers provides an enduring treatment while reinforcing a memorable series of vertical sculptural forms that evoke the natural process of fire and regeneration in our ecology.

Form Landscape Architects has always looked to demonstrate leadership through innovative ideas and designs. At Bim’ bimba Park, sustainability is the core message. We sought to convey to the development industry, the local authority and to the public that recycling, reappropriating or reimagining uses for raw materials can lead to sophisticated and beautiful design outcomes without sacrificing quality, durability and experience. Using ameliorated site soils, mulch drawn from cleared vegetation and timber elements from areas necessarily cleared all reflect this mindset. Where materials had to be sourced from beyond the site, durability was key. Materials in their rawest form were specified to reinforce this ethos. The results show that expensive and dramatic paint finishes are not always necessary to create an enticing and engaging play space.

Critical to the success of the park design was the way in which the client, consulting team, Council and suppliers collaborated with Form Landscape Architects to deliver the park. Council representatives were present throughout the construction process which was novel to this project and bore fruit in the end result that may pave the way for such involvement on future projects of this scale.

Form Landscape Architects is extremely proud of the outcomes achieved at the Gainsborough Bim’bimba Park and Playground. Beyond the technical and logistic triumphs associated with the project, residents and visitors identify as the custodians of a space which is both unique and connected to their surrounding environment.