The Ribbon Playground

July 10, 2024

Landscape Architect: Aspect Studios
Contractor: Landscape Solutions
Location: Darling Harbour NSW

The Ribbon Playground is a transformation of a previously cluttered and hard-to-navigate space into a maritime-themed playground that combines functionality with aesthetics.

Partridge commenced the concept design in 2019, taking the project through detailed design, shop drawing review, coordination with the existing landscape structures on site and the construction services including all the site inspections for the project. The playground opened to the public early in 2024.

The playground is comprised of three main areas: Upper Wave, Lower Wave, and The Bay, each with their own unique engineering challenges. The complex structural steel frame included cantilevered posts splayed in various directions, and required careful coordination with all the secondary components including rope mesh platforms, swing bridges, rubber platforms, timber flooring and façade elements, wire mesh barriers, cable elements, custom stainless-steel slides, various tunnels and even a moving ‘Wave’ bridge. Each of these secondary elements was custom designed and built, and required structural analysis to ensure their adequacy and performance for the playground.

Partridge also worked closely with Tensile Design & Construct to carry out the finite element analysis of the tensile mesh panels and associated cables, used as barriers throughout the playground.

Extensive 3d modelling in Strand7 and Spacegass was carried out to assess the strength of the frame and its behaviour, and to view the predicted deflections in various load cases, including dead load, playground live loads and wind loads. The playground live loads were assessed in accordance with AS 4685.1:2021 Playground equipment and surfacing which uses a unique set of rules to accommodate primary use by children, compared to the building structures code.

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