The original water works was completed in 1878, but it was decommissioned after only 20 years due to low pressure and brackish water. And there it sat, occasionally changing hands until a service station had to abandon the building after a roof collapsed. When TZG Architects collaborated with JMD Designs to turn the space into a public park, they realized the ruins could provide a unique and valuable historic reference for the residents of the city.
The park collects water from the neighboring Paddington Town Hall, and from on-site rainwater storage tanks located beneath the walkways and planters. Australia is a leader in water efficiency, so the waterworks’ approach to water preservation is as symbolic as it is functional. The park has a dense layer of subtropical plantings laced with raw materials like wood beams, concrete, iron, and brick. The supporting materials were placed discretely in order to enhance the preserved structures.