Paddington Reservoir Gardens

In March 2009, The City of Sydney opened the magnificent Paddington Reservoir Gardens.  It was a hit from the beginning, being described as a combination of the Baths of Caracalla and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  'Adaptive Re Use' does it again!

In August 2009, TZG Architects, Sydney and Paddington Reservoir Gardens were awarded Australia's most prestigious urban design award for excellence. Judges commended them for creating a unique, surprising, functional and totally engaging public park that has captured the imagination of residents and visitors.

And JMD Designs won the 2010 Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture.

When the city decided to transform the defunct, roofed over Reservoir (it was Sydney's original water reserve) into an urban park, it was expected that the underground site would be capped and a new park be built on top. But the architects decided to expose and highlight the 19th century structure as a ruin and invite the public to wander through it.

the reservoir was roofed over and used as a parking lot in the mid 20th century

They wanted to reveal the dramatic spaces and the play of light that flits through the historic walls and vaults.

Lights spotlight the amazing stonework of the reservoir

Thus, a stunning sunken garden was established in the reservoir's western chamber and stairs were provided to allow people to descend into it. 

Here is what one visitor wrote of Paddington Reservoir Gardens:

"The space is REALLY nice. You think you will see the place in a short time (because its relatively small) but when you are down there you feel like relaxing and disconnect from the noise for a while; ... you don’t feel in a modern city at all. It feels peaceful and you will feel like sitting down and enjoying the surroundings."

Elizabeth Farrelly, architecture critic for the Sydney Morning Herald, said of the project:

"Everyone loves it. People hang out just for the pleasure of it, which is seriously unusual in Sydney… this is a world-class weave of ancient and modern and I love it too." (this is fromWorld Architecture )

Someday I will visit this park.  If anyone has been there I would love to hear about it.


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