Paddington Reservoir

JMD design: The project converted a disused 19th Century reservoir into a public garden in an inner city suburb of Sydney. The project sought to subtly foster and maintain the strange atmosphere found in the subterranean structure. An atmosphere that arose from the simple fact that the structure was never intended for human occupation, rather its logic reflects the now absent mass of water whose ebb and flow compressed any occupiable volume between the dark surface of the water and the vaulted brick and iron ceiling.

A sunken garden occupies the two western chambers of the reservoir. One inaccessible planted with a palette of highly textured plants reminiscent of a Victorian era planting, the other slightly raised and planted with a single gum tree in a lawn. At the centre of these two gardens, under a remnant piece of vaulted roof, a dark pond reflects all.

On the roof of the western chamber a lawn is cut by a path whose alignment and materiality reflects the geometry of the vaults below, as though the original fabric of the reservoir has seeped upwards and stained the surface of the new park.

Project Title: Paddington Reservoir
Landscape Architecture: JMD design
In collaboration with TZG Architects
Location: Corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road, Paddington, Sydney
Completion: 2009
Client: City of Sydney
Area: 4600 m2
Cost: $10 mil. (The total cost includes stabilization, restoration of heritage structures, architectural elements and landscape works)
Image Credits: Brett Boardman Photography

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