Our team worked in collaboration with Turner Architects to master plan this new development in Sydney’s south-west. Washington Park is the first public-private sector partnership of its kind, blending 500 private apartments with 150 social housing apartments for seniors in blocks of contemporary high density residential set. The master plan challenges previous failed development models where social housing promoted social exclusion and disconnect within the community.
This development model has been extremely successful for the developers Payce Communities; with all apartments for private sale being sold before the commencement of construction works. The proposed public domain played a pivotal role in the sale of these apartments, with the developers understanding the value of building the public domain first and creating a beautiful place for the buildings to reside in.
Matt Coggan, Turf’s project landscape architect for Washington Park expressed that, “It’s been great working with a developer that understands the value of landscape and gives it an appropriate budget.”
One unique aspect of Turf’s master plan included an elevated ‘kitchen garden’ in the communal grounds of the social housing apartments. The team recognised Riverwood Social Housing Community’s strong interest in their community gardens and wanted to extend this into Washington Park. The kitchen garden is fully accessible by all residents and regular, on-going programs are install to educate residents and promote productive gardening in their urban landscape.
The prominent location of the productive gardens makes it a focal point of activity, the buildings face onto the gardens to ensure optimal passive surveillance and makes the workings of the garden part of the everyday experience. Residents are encouraged to join the Washington Park Garden Club and collaborate with other nearby community gardens to share seeds, cuttings and combine workshops.
Many people live among plants their whole life and never stopped to learn about them. In this instance, Turf proposed a landscape of plants suitable for a medicinal and culinary use and provided residents with a customised plant guide of Washington Park to educate residents on how these plants could be harvested.
This approach of embracing the urban landscape as an opportunity to harvest food and turning it into an edible landscape has successfully reimagined the way urban dwellers view and use their environment.