Lochshore Community Play: Dalry Concept Workshop
Dress for the Weather and Urban Pioneers, in partnership with North Ayrshire Council and Garnock Connections, are currently working on designs for new play structures in Kilbirnie Public Park, Dalry Public Park and Orr’s Trust Public Park, Beith.
As part of the on-going engagement process we recently delivered the last of our planned public workshops. This workshop looked at combining the ideas from the previous two workshops as well as refining them into a concept for the play structure.
In Dalry we discussed two different sites in detail – one relating to the basin of the old BMX track; the other close to the Rye Water. Due to practical and budget issues relating to the delivery of a project at the Rye Water the site by the BMX track will be taken forward now, however the ideas generated for the other site will be retained an option for any future funds which become available.
A summary of the concept at this point is included below:
The feeling was that in Dalry Public Park there is quite a clearly defined play provision to the south of the bowling green, and a small structure might get lost at that side. To the north of the bowling site there is a triangular ‘basin’ site (which includes the old bmx landscaping) that felt quite well protected but also had a nice relationship with the hill where the memorial is located.
We felt this also created an interesting amphitheater-type arrangement.
In addition this site is fairly close to the pavilion building, which could potentially link to this site for future activities.
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Play and Gathering
During the Play workshop we talked about natural play, and plant species – and potentially how knowledge of the natural environment was lost. We talked about foraging, and eating brambles. This naturally led on to a discussion about picnics in the park and the idea of a ‘community table’ came up.
The discussion progressed further and we talked about the summer meals program and bbqs (we also talked about Burns).
The idea of events in the park also came across strongly in, and a ‘community table’ concept could potentially fit into this as well as the amphitheater formed in the landscape. This could be used for formal or informal play and performances.
The idea of foraging and more natural/free play came across strongly as well as the idea of a ‘wilder’ landscape. This came across most strongly in discussions about the nearby river (Rye Water).
A link to the river could be explored, particularly as the Rye runs to Kilbirnie Loch, and the Lochshore Site. We also talked about stepping stone, and playing / crossing the river.
We also talked about the surrounding industries, and the impact of production and industry on the growth of the town.
During the concept workshop we refined these idea somewhat into an arced, ‘broken’ line of surfaces. This came from the idea of the community table but by splitting this into sections you could allow various gatherings to take place at the same time – splitting the table into stepping stones.
This potentially creates various surfaces to eat at, or gather on – but also place for kids to climb, to hide behind and hang out on. Again, encouraging free play on the structures.
It was also felt that this could be used during activities taking place from the pavilion, such as the summer evening food events.
By forming an arc with the surfaces and orientating this towards the hill, there is an opportunity to create a small performance space, as part of the natural amphitheater. This could again be used for formal events, or just day to day.
In terms of materials, a more natural palette was preferable but a more solid, accessible surface/access is important.
We think a few additional trees, ideally fruit trees, around the new installation will create a backdrop to the amphitheater shape but also tie in to the idea of foraging and understanding the natural environment better.
Moving forward we will be preparing concept designs for public comment. Details of this will be shared in due course.