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Auckland’s Splashpads

From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery — Pakuranga and Whangaparaoa

ANZ contacted council to offer assistance in providing zero-depth splashpads at two council recreation centres.

Council is interested in collaborating more widely with the private sector, and this was seen as an excellent fit. Stanmore Bay and Lloyd Elsmore were selected as appropriate sites. For ANZ, this was the first time they had partnered with local government to fund infrastructure.

Splashpads for kids

Design wise, the team was aware that splashpad design in Auckland to date had largely focused on the kit itself, with the ground surfacing and surrounding landscape usually fairly drab and grey. The aim was to create a summery, beach-like colour scheme to complement the water based activities and ‘theme’ the spaces in kids’ 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.

Splashpad childrens fun
Children playing
Sails shade and tables

Part of the brief for both sites was a perimeter fence, as the splashpads needed to be accessed through the adjoining leisure centre for management reasons. Stanmore Bay also required an acoustic fence, due to the proximity of neighbours. If not carefully considered, this could create somewhat of a ‘prison’ feeling. Much focus was put on how this fence would work very early in the design, and this drove a lot of the subsequent design thinking.

The ‘wave fence’ surrounding each splashpad was created from 90x45mm Accoya timber, installed in ‘panels’ of six for ease of construction. Each set of six was painted a Resene colour, using Resene Wet N Wild, Resene Lochmara, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Anakiwa and Resene Half Alabaster, with the driving inspiration being the tones of waves at the beach on a summer’s day, and the colours grading from light to dark and back again, in the way that a wave sequence would.

Blue painted fence
Blue painted fence

While not a requirement of either party, these colours also themed well with both Council and ANZ’s corporate colours, and the shades of the fencing were pulled through to both the surfacing of the splashpad and the splashpad poles and buckets. This included introduction of complementary yellow and orange tones.

The 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.

Splashpad outside
Blue painted fence

The acoustic fence at Stanmore Bay was painted in the same palette as the Accoya fence to link the two together, and has a bubble cutout, reflective of the underside of a wave. The bubbles also improve the acoustic properties of the fence. The bubble panels were designed with the cutouts 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 black, making it near invisible.

The Lloyd Elsmore pad has triggered a review of the drab building frontage behind it and it is currently being painted in a complementary scheme.

Blue painted fence detail
Blue painted fence detail

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 summer, and a poll on Neighbourly found that 80% of respondents thought it had been money well invested in their community.

Architectural specifier: Auckland Council design team
Main contractor: Heb Landscapes
Client: Auckland Council in partnership with ANZ
Painting contractor: North Harbour Fencing

Resene Total Colour Awards gallery

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2018

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