Harts Mill Surrounds
ASPECT Studios has delivered a revitalised, vibrant and attractive public realm for the Hart’s Mill surrounds in Port Adelaide. Located adjacent to the wharf and with the backdrop of one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage listed industrial buildings, the new space includes a large playspace and extensive grassed recreation areas with trees, picnic and BBQ areas as well as multifunctional spaces for events and markets. Originally conceived by Renewal SA as a ‘temporary’ park to activate the waterfront until future development of the Hart’s Mill precinct was underway, ASPECT Studios took the approach of establishing a park within the budget that would stand the test of time.
The site has been sensitively structured around the heritage listed buildings and with an immediate adjacency to the wharf promenade. The existing rail line has been retained and celebrated in its original form to maintain a reference to the past and the Port’s important role as an export hub. The rail line is flanked by raised grass platforms, designed as vessels containing new park spaces within what is a highly modified site. The platforms also provide a place to view dolphins that frequent the Port River as well as the growing breadth of water based activities. Pathways dissecting the two platforms lead visitors to a long picnic shelter which was designed in collaboration with Mulloway Studio. A bold palette of yellow and black defines the playspace whilst all other materials such as off-form concrete and jetty timbers are stripped back to their raw finish and are complemented by an elegant and robust planting palette. The timber for the shelter structure and shading battens was taken from a former building, and re-used with minimal alteration with the structure designed to ensure the available sections could be used without need for modification. Off-sawn timber was minimally finished, with light sanding, oiling and nail removal only required.
The innovative new playspace themed around the site’s flour milling history is a major feature of the site and provides an engaging, contemporary and highly original play facility for Port Adelaide and the wider region. Its design also draws upon references to the numerous port trade activities in the wharf precinct and has been developed as a play facility aimed to have a regional level of attraction.
Flour milling involves a dynamic sequence of stages of conveying wheat through the purifying process. A series of custom designed lettering structures are woven throughout the playspace, highlighting these phases from ‘wheat’ through to ‘sieve’, ‘blend’ and ‘purify’. The play equipment continues the narrative with concepts such as rolling, sifting and delivery. A continuous yellow thread links all the elements, encouraging children to follow and explore the process. Structural elements such as shelters and seating are also linked by the thread continuing the narrative weaving throughout the space.
The playspace caters for all age groups with elements for toddlers, teenagers and even more adventurous adults. It has been designed to be fun, but intends to challenge users, with abundant opportunities for risk, explorative play, socialising and development of motor and balance skills.
Site furniture was designed using existing former wharf timbers retaining the mass timber and much of the patina important to Port Adelaide’s heritage.
Industrial skip bins have been incorporated into the design as moveable planters to maximise the flexibility of the spaces around the Mill for events such as the Laneway Music Festival and Illuminart.
Given the ‘temporary’ nature of the site works, a key design principle was to minimise below-ground disturbance, leaving ground surfaces largely untouched for archaeological purposes also aligned with the site management strategy for the existing sub-soil conditions.
The project has been delivered as a premier destination within a suite of ‘early win’ interventions that have been rolled out around Port Adelaide with the aim of increasing visitation and providing greater access and amenity to the waterfront. It is located on a newly established hike and bike loop around the Port River, encouraging users to visit the site using alternative means of transport.
The Hart’s Mill project is the first of a series of projects to reactivate Port Adelaide’s Central Business Area with the space being embraced by a wide cross section of the community, families, teenagers and adults.
The success of the project has been further enhanced by the establishment of the Wild at Hart market. The market has embraced its dedicated space and is experiencing continual growth. It also galvanises the Hart’s Mill precinct as a key destination within metropolitan Adelaide.
The project has been highly successful in creating a new waterfront destination within a currently underutilised post-industrial precinct, and provides a catalyst for future development through a renewed interest in this important yet forgotten part of Port Adelaide.
Contributed by ASPECT Studios
Photos © Don Brice
Client: Renewal SA
Landscape Architects/Lead Consultant: ASPECT Studios
Mulloway Studio (Architecture)
LUCID Consulting (Lighting and Service Engineering)
SMEC Australia (Civil and Structural Engineering)
HydroPlan (Irrigation Design)
Budget: $2.1 million
Area size: 7100 square metres