Harold Park

From the designers: JMD Design were engaged by the City of Sydney as head consultant of a multidisciplinary team to undertake the design development and documentation for Harold Park, a 3.8 hectare infill development site in the inner-western suburb of Glebe.

The new park at Harold Park provides important recreational, environmental and cultural assets that connect, reinforce and expand the existing open space systems around the Glebe peninsula. The design creates a distinctive place, drawing on the existing setting, history and ecological and recreational opportunities afforded by the site.

Harold Park is bounded by a 16-metre-high sandstone cliff along its eastern edge, a new apartment development along its western edge and the Tramsheds precinct to the north. The linear space provides a large informal green, a planted linear swale, a traditional garden, a children’s play space, raingardens, picnic and barbecue facilities and new habitat for small birds.

A series of pedestrian and bike-friendly pathways and bridges connect different sections of the park to each other and to the their surrounds. Short bridges connect the park to the adjacent apartment neighbourhood, clearly signalling the public nature of the open space and creating a distinct sense of arrival. Between the park’s main path and the residential development, a linear stormwater swale runs the park’s length. Planted with a textural mix of grasses, sedges and small shrubs, the structure creates a defining edge between the adjacent development and the public domain.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Image: Brett Boardman

At the base of the cliff, along the site’s eastern edge, is a half-metre-high terrace, retained by a series of curved concrete walls interspersed with brick access stairs and two platforms. This terrace holds rain gardens, picnic shelters (designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects), barbecues, habitat zones and a playground. The simple “stack” motif of the platforms is repeated in the playground, where a stack of timber forms, a climbing structure that supports tunnel slides and a stack of sandstone echoes the geology of the cliff and offers a simple climbing challenge to visitors. The play elements include swings, a slide and low-key water and sand play features that encourage active and imaginative play.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Image: Brett Boardman

The Green – the park’s primary open space – comprises a levelled lawn for informal ball games surrounded by clumps of endemic trees that provide scale, shade and habitat. The northern edge of the park (the site of the former Tramshed Garden) harbours a contemporary ornamental garden, imbued with rich textural plantings whose layout was abstracted from a pressed metal ceiling pattern, common to the local area at the end of the nineteenth century. The Green can be accessed via intertwining brick pathways that wind through the garden and up the park’s slope.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Harold Park by JMD Design.

Image: Brett Boardman

The design for Harold Park insists on the public nature of the open space, maximises connectivity to the surrounding street network, provides a variety of spaces and allows for a diversity of users. The design is unified by a special attention to context, the use of a simple material palette of brick, sandstone and timber, the use of endemic vegetation and the engagement in a formal dialogue with the cliff and the historic Tramsheds precinct.

Harold Park is built on the land of the Eora people.

Harold Park received a Landscape Architecture Award in the Parks and Open Space category of the 2019 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Awards.


Lead design consultant
JMD Design
Sydney, NSW, Australia
TZG (Shelters)
Artist Jon Tarry
Construction Ford Civil
Construction management City of Sydney
Design management City of Sydney
Engineering Diversi & Northrop
Lighting LAAS
Masterplan team City of Sydney, Clouston Associates and Architectus
Project management City of Sydney
Site Details
Location Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2018
Design, documentation 25 months
Construction 27 months
Category Landscape / urban
Type Outdoor / gardens, Public domain

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