Skip to main content

The Art-Engineering Fusion Behind Melbourne’s Unique Playground

By 3 May 2023November 7th, 2023Featured, News
 The Art-Engineering Fusion Behind Melbourne's Unique Playground

When art and engineering join forces, unique and memorable creations can emerge.

In Melbourne, an exciting collaboration between an artist and geotechnical engineers from Tonkin + Taylor has transformed an uninspiring space into a captivating, one-of-a-kind playground.

Nicknamed “Rolling Rocks” by Trevor Smith, a Senior Principal Engineering Geologist at Tonkin + Taylor in Australia, the ‘Southbank Boulevard Play Space’ project showcases the potential of interdisciplinary collaboration to make a positive impact on communities.

The Origin of “Rolling Rocks”

The risky playground project was conceived by former T+T engineer Mike Hewson, who decided to pursue a career as an artist. Hewson was inspired by a 1960s Hollywood set photo featuring fake rocks on skates.

With the support of the City of Melbourne, he aimed to bring this concept to life in the form of an innovative playground in South Melbourne.

The Role of Tonkin + Taylor

To help bring Hewson’s vision to fruition, T+T was enlisted for our expertise. Our involvement included visiting the quarry, assisting in the selection of boulders with lower susceptibility to fracturing, and providing guidance on the placement of rock bolts to reduce the potential for fractures.

This technical support was crucial to ensure the playground was both safe and aesthetically pleasing.

The Final Result

The completed playground features boulders with wheels attached, giving the illusion that they can move.

These boulders are expertly engineered into the ground, providing a safe and unique play environment for children. The success of this project can be attributed to the seamless collaboration between Hewson, T+T, and the City of Melbourne and other consultants.

The project highlights the incredible possibilities that arise when art and engineering come together. This project not only provided a creative outlet for Mike Hewson but also served as a unique and enjoyable challenge for the engineers at Tonkin + Taylor.

Ultimately, the “Rolling Rocks” playground stands as a symbol of interdisciplinary collaboration and its potential to make a positive impact on communities.