Artist Caroline della Porta got her start as an illustrator for London newspapers in the... more
A strong colour connection spells fun at these two splashpads
14 Sep 2021
With warmer weather still on the way and many of us still confined to our homes, letting loose with friends and family at a gorgeous splashpad sounds awfully appealing right about now.
It was a first-time partnership between ANZ and Auckland Council when the bank offered to support the development of the splashpads at the city’s Stanmore Bay and Lloyd Elsmore recreation centres. The proposal piqued Auckland Council’s interest in their vision to collaborate more widely with the private sector, and the project was seen as an excellent fit. For ANZ, this was the first time they had partnered with local government to fund infrastructure.
Before these projects, splashpad design in Auckland had largely focused on the kit itself, with the ground surfacing and surrounding landscape usually ending up fairly drab, grey and leaving something to be desired. The aim was to create a summery, aquatic colour scheme to complement the water-based activities and impress a theme upon visitors’ imaginations.
“It has been noticed on previous play projects that spaces with a defined theme are more likely to drive repeat visits, as kids recall them more readily,” explains Dave Little, who managed the project from council’s side.
Part of the brief for both sites was a perimeter fence, as the splashpads needed to be accessed through the adjoining leisure centre. Stanmore Bay also required an acoustic fence to minimise disruption to neighbours. The project team worried that, if not carefully considered, it could result in a ‘prison-like feeling’ for the users – which isn’t an ideal vibe for a playspace.
“A great deal of focus was put on how this fence would work very early in the design, and this drove a lot of the subsequent design thinking,” says Dave. Their efforts led to a far more spectacular result than any of the project team first imagined.
The ‘wave fence’ surrounding each splashpad was created from Accoya timber, installed in panels of six for ease of construction. Each set was painted a Resene colour using Resene Wet N Wild, Resene Lochmara, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Anakiwa and Resene Half Alabaster. The choices were inspired by the tones of waves at the beach on a summer’s day, with the colours grading from light to dark and back again in the way that a wave sequence would.
Though it wasn’t a project requirement, the colours ended up well themed with both Council and ANZ’s corporate colours, and the shades of the fencing were pulled through to the surfacing, poles and buckets. These were complemented with pops of yellow and orange tones, making for a truly dynamic and imaginative space.
Accoya timber was selected for the fence panelling as it has structural properties which allow it to stand unsupported without bending or warping. The wave sections in the Accoya fence were a lot more complicated to construct than the vertical sections, so these needed to be limited to keep within budget. Resene Hi-Glo was used for a high-gloss finish that would help the bold colour choices pop and give an almost ‘wet’ appearance.
“The acoustic fence at Stanmore Bay was painted in the same palette as the Accoya fence to link the two together, with a bubble cut-out reflective of the underside of a wave that actually improved the acoustic properties of the fence,” says Dave. “The bubble panels were designed with the cut-outs to be clear of the supporting framing. On site, this proved to be difficult, so in some places the framing is visible, but the builders painted any visible framing Resene Black, making it nearly invisible.”
The splashpads have been so popular that entry has had to be limited during peak times, with queues forming inside the leisure centre. Stanmore Bay experienced 25,000 visitors to the splashpad over its first summer, and a poll on Neighbourly found that 80% of respondents thought it had been money well invested in their community. The colourful new look at Lloyd Elsmore pad even triggered a review of the building frontage and inspired it to be repainted in fresh new hues.
Even the children at the Auckland Council splashpads are coordinated with the park’s Resene colour scheme. The splashpads appear to be doing a mighty fine job of encouraging kids of all ages to partake in the fun. Fence in Resene Wet N Wild, Resene Lochmara, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Anakiwa and Resene Half Alabaster.
The final design of the acoustic solution protecting nearby neighbours went above and beyond normal expectations for these types of fences. Laser cut plywood panels are painted in the same hues as the slatted fence – Resene Wet N Wild, Resene Lochmara, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Anakiwa and Resene Half Alabaster – to allow the transition of materials to flow seamlessly.
From this angle, it’s easy to see the wave-like effect of the fences as it curves up, down, in and out. The slats are painted in Resene Wet N Wild, Resene Lochmara, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Anakiwa and Resene Half Alabaster and coordinate perfectly with the sunshades, poles and play surfaces.
It’s the combination of colour and form that make the wave fencing so convincing. The colours swell from Resene Half Alabaster to Resene Anakiwa to Resene Picton Blue to Resene Lochmara to Resene Wet N Wild and back again to create the effect.
The laser cut bubble details in the fence panels actually improved its acoustic properties. These were painted in Resene Hi-Glo high gloss tinted to Resene Half Alabaster to Resene Anakiwa to Resene Picton Blue to Resene Lochmara to Resene Wet N Wild.
design Auckland Council
build Heb Landscapes
painting North Harbour Fencing
lasercut acoustic ply panels Plyman
other timber Timspec
splashpad kit Playrope
Published: 14 Sep 2021