Situated on the banks of Parramatta River within Blaxland Riverside Park, the Armory Wharf Precinct is the lower foreshore strip of parkland which adjoins the historic Newington Armory. Formerly a working industrial area, the riverside wharf and existing sandstone retained riverbank have been redeveloped into a public recreation area which includes a new cafe (by lahznimmo architects), shade shelter and public toilets (by Lacoste + Stevenson Architects) and a new paved esplanade which features barbeque and picnic areas, children’s play and water features, shade trees and lighting, (by Hargreaves Associates). Along the entire length of the esplanade is a sedge filled swale to encourage safe passage of green and gold bell frogs.
Since opening in 2007, Blaxland Riverside Park has proved very popular amongst picnicking families, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and those visiting the adjacent historic Newington Armory. The site forms part of the extensive public parklands and conservation areas associated with the 2000 Sydney Olympic Park.
Adaptive reuse of Building 13 as a café was completed in 2007, but was destroyed by fire later that year. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority engaged lahznimmo architects to design a new café on the site of the original. The building was completed in December 2008.
Armory Wharf provides peaceful views across the Parramatta River to mangroves and the post-industrial working wharf landscape. The design draws extensively on the existing materials and industrial and military themes of the site. The result is a new responsive layer of urban elements over the original working wharf site using a broad palette of materials such as, weathering steel, army camouflage netting, recycled timber, and mill finish aluminium.
The long length of sandstone retained riverbank adjoining Armory Wharf is complimented by the linear arrangement of recreational built form. Existing railway tracks lead from the wharf, pass by the camouflage shade structure, and into the new café. The railway tracks originally carried armaments in and out of Building 13, and have been retained and incased in clear epoxy resin as part of the interpretative overlay. Within the café, functional necessities of kitchen exhaust and gas flues have been encased in a chimney structure that references the silhouettes of retained cranes. To the west of the café shaded picnic tables and barbeques line the foreshore walk. Water features are used as play areas, and to cool the recreational area.
Awards: - 2008 Commercial Architecture Award from Australian Institute of Architects, (NSW Chapter) - 2008 Urban Design Award from Australian Institute of Architects, (NSW Chapter) - 2008 Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design from Australian Institute of Architects, (National)