Australia's Ballast Point Park was once an industrial facility used for storing oil and lubricants, but now it is a charming place where families go to enjoy picnics and play above the water. Located on a prominent headland overlooking Sydney Harbour, the restored green space is a welcome addition to the city and the environment. The park was designed by Choi Ropiha Fighera, who took inspiration from the industrial nature and history of the space and used recycled materials wherever possible to build the new infrastructure.
Ballast Point has played a prominent role in the history of Sydney and now the park works to bring that history to life through restoration, installations, and design. Choi Ropiha Fighera‘s design of the grounds sought to restore the area back to nature, while also reminding visitors of all the changes and activities that occurred at the point, including fishing, hunting, mining, manufacturing, and storage. The 2.6 hectare park now provides walking paths, access for cyclists and green picnic spots with panoramic views to the city and Harbour Bridge.
The restoration of the point included a decontamination of the old industrial facilities and the creation of new wetland areas to filter the site’s stormwater before it enters the harbour. To minimize on the use of new materials, Choi Ropiha Fighera made use of demolition and recycled materials to build the new infrastructure including the new walls, decks and seating. They also designed a number of modern, yet industrial shade structures around the park for visitors use. These steel structures feature bright yellow recycled seat belt webbing that is woven to create a shade covering. They also planted native trees, shrubs and grasses grown from locally collected seed. The project received Australian Institute of Architects Small Project Architecture Commendation in 2009, the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW Special Jury Citation for New Directions in 2009, the Energy Australia National Trust Heritage Award Highly Commended in 2010, and Waterfront Centre (Washington DC) Top Honour Award in 2010.
Images ©Brett Boardman