‘Community’s backyard’ recognised at Australian Urban Design Awards

‘Community’s backyard’ recognised at Australian Urban Design Awards

Our transformative, place-led urban design strategy for Castle Hill Showground has been recognised at the national level, receiving a commendation at the 2021 Australian Urban Design Awards in the ‘Leadership, Advocacy and Research – Local and Neighbourhood Scale’ category.

Designed in close collaboration with The Hills Shire Council and the community, the masterplan is set to transform the iconic 130-year-old Showground site into the “community’s backyard” – a physical landmark that caters for growth of Sydney’s emerging Northwest community catalysed by the construction of the new Metro railway corridor.

The 2021 Australian Urban Design Awards were facilitated by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), supported by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) and the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).Dajon Veldman, Associate Director and Urban Design Lead at McGregor Coxall’s Sydney Studio, said research and engagement were foundational for achieving successful outcome.

“We are thrilled for the Castle Hill Showground Masterplan to be recognised amongst such high calibre entries at this year’s awards. A commendation at this level is a testament to the hard work of McGregor Coxall’s Urban Design team, and a barometer of our maturity in terms of skill, planning, and execution required to achieve this result,” said Veldman.

“Council’s foresight in facilitating such an important project for the current and future communities was imperative for achieving a shared vision. We look forward bringing the new iconic Showground to life, an exciting destination that will serve the growing community for generations to come.”

The jury citation read: “The masterplan establishes a clear urban design framework for the long-term development of a functional public realm and a contemporary park landscape underpinned by endemic vegetation, and effective water and land management strategies. The well-communicated design solution promotes connectedness to, from and between the site and its individual nodes, seamlessly integrating it with surrounding local facilities and the future rail station.“

Catalysed by Sydney’s new Metro railway corridor, the Castle Hill Showground Master Plan details a comprehensive, 30-year vision for the site’s transformation into a new entertainment and recreational hub for north-western Sydney. The jury was impressed by how this long-awaited plan integrates the site’s rich history, identity, uses, tenants, natural features and built form as assets. Its formulation skilfully engaged state and local governments and community to envision a big “community backyard” that is accessible, functional, and activated day and evening.”Collaborators on the masterplan include Elton, Hill PDA, MBM Consulting, and Cardno.

Restorative works in the Northwest community will continue, with McGregor Coxall’s Landscape Architecture and Environment teams developing a masterplan for the restoration of Cattai Creek – an integral ecological connection that enhances environmental values for the wider Hills Shire district. With direct links to the neighbouring Castle Hill Showground and Showground Metro Station, the masterplan will deliver 1.5km of linear parkland to support the health and wellbeing of the local community, providing leisure and recreation opportunities through a series of parklet nodes along the corridor.

Playing an important role in biodiversity and regional climatic resilience, the master plan also sets out guidelines for the interfaces along the creek to ensure future developments engage and activate the edges of the corridor, making it a safe, inclusive place for the whole community to enjoy.

Image by Tim Throsby

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