The new playground at St Leonards College, Brighton provides a striking new visual, functional, and social focal point within the schoolgrounds.
The multi-faceted design aimed to take advantage of a previously under-utilised space within the grounds, and to provide a space for social interaction, creative play, and challenging physical activities.
In addition to providing the school students a challenging, fun, and engaging play area, the playground needed to be visually appealing and convey the school values and overall philosophy.
The available space is constrained by its close proximity to a significant, heritage listed Moreton Bay Fig tree, a major access pathway, and the school oval.
The design aimed to provide a wide range of activity and learning settings to meet the diverse needs of students. Although the visual effect of the structure emphasises climbing and challenge, and there is an excellent variety of upper body activities, balance, sliding, hanging, and agility, there are numerous other subtle design elements and activity spaces in the new area. These include:
- lots of complex, small scale spaces where students can explore, hide from their friends, and retreat.
- overhead lookout spaces and larger decks where a group can gather for social or more formal outdoor learning activities
- protective barriers that shield the play from the surroundings ( and vice versa) such as a separation between the sports field and the slide runout
- new connections between the base of the tree and gathering, perching, exploring and sand play.