Onslow Youth Space
2017 National Award of Excellence - Play Space
2017 Western Australia Award of Excellence - Play Space
In a remote location in the Pilbara region of WA a multifunctional play space named the ‘Fish Bowl’ shimmers on the hot surface, an embodied mirage for the local youth. A ground plane of movement inspired by the chambers of a termite mound transforms in three dimensions to a skate park and vibrant community hub.
The constraints of the location were overcome by retaining and recycling as much of the existing infrastructure as possible and in the process testing and delivering new products for the market. As a result, the community has received a space over twice the size of what was initially thought could be achieved for the budget.
The constructed outcome recycled an old concrete basketball court slab and lighting. The old concrete slab forms around 70% of the new skate space. Due to the isolated locality, the cost of delivering this kind of facility is approximately 3-4 times the amount when compared to main city centres. By retaining, recycling and reusing as much of the existing infrastructure as possible, the new skate space has become a much larger community hub with a greater variety of activation possibilities. By refurbishing the old concrete slab and giving it new life, the space has gone from an original budget allowance of approximately 800m2 to over 2000m2 of activation space.
Importantly, Convic was committed throughout the process to ensuring that local young people youth were deeply involved with this project. It is an outstanding example of the richness that effective, targeted consultation can bring to a project. Their vested interest in this place will ensure the ongoing life of the space, while also encouraging and teaching a new generation of children the delights of design and engagement.
Shade and lighting were key design consideration to enable day and night use. The constructed outcome was designed around the existing flood lighting to enable use in the evenings when it’s cooler and shade structures to provide respite during the day. The space has three shaded areas as well as natural shade and artificial turf areas to soften the large concrete mass, plus reduce irrigation and maintenance requirements.
Since opening the space has been highly populated by youth with 60 - 80 children and young people occupying the space every evening as well as parents and youth activation programs. The Skateboarding WA team have found the space highly successful for running learn to skate workshops with many boys and girls attending there events. It is now an essential part of the Onslow community and has contributed to positive change in the local youth culture, fostering heath and inclusiveness in the community.