Paddington Reservoir

LETTER – 16 September 2009 – Following  the article in The Sydney Morning Herald of 14 September “Architects deride Keating’s ‘Mickey Mouse’ vision” the NSW Group of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects responds:

As open space design professionals we welcome this latest debate relating to Barangaroo [development site adjoining the Sydney CBD] and the design of open spaces/parks in Sydney.

Sydney in particular is undergoing a renaissance in its public spaces and places led by good governance primarily at the local government level.

Landscape architects have been leading this transformation of Sydney’s city spaces and post industrial sites into parklands such as the Paddington Reservoir, the Former Water Police Site, Glebe Foreshore, Ballast Point, Beare Park, Redfern Park and Cockatoo Island, to name a few which have become much-loved community assets.

These new major city park projects exhibit design excellence, sustainability initiatives, and have social and community programs which compliment the great 19th century and 20th century parks of our city.

To say that our collective professions of landscape architecture and architecture lack understanding of context and artistic sensibility in the design of these places – as Paul Keating has stated recently in the media – is wildly off the mark.??One only needs to visit one of the recently unveiled open spaces such as Paddington Reservoir, Ballast Point in Balmain and the Former Water Police site at Pyrmont to see their success and how enthusiastically they have been received by their communities and the populace at large.

These new open spaces designed by landscape Architects, architects and their consultant teams will no doubt evolve and be adapted to changing recreation patterns as they provide a much needed respite to the pressures of urban living.

Sacha Coles
president,
Australian Institute Landscape Architects NSW