Mays Hill Master Plan

Design Framework

‘A courageous approach to contemporary park making.’ – Jury Report

Winner of the 2020 AILA NSW Landscape Architecture Award for Cultural Heritage

‘An exemplar of the broader value that landscape architecture practice can bring to the community and growing city.’ – AILA Jury Report

Originally part of the Governor’s Domain and a key part of the visual curtilage to the World Heritage listed Parramatta Park, the Mays Hill Precinct was cut off from Parramatta Park by the construction of the Western Rail Line in 1860. Much of the precinct was subsequently occupied by the Parramatta Golf Course, which closed in 2015. Mays Hill contains endangered ecological communities, historic archaeology and heritage protected view lines as well as a section of Domain Creek, once a meeting and resource place for the Burramatta Clan of the Darug people. Due to the Parramatta Stadium redevelopment, the existing Parramatta Memorial Aquatic Centre was demolished and Mays Hill’s derelict golfcourse was identified as the location for its replacement.

In 2017, the Parramatta Park Trust engaged Tyrrell Studio to provide a master plan to return the 20-hectare Mays Hill precinct to the public, transforming it from a fenced, single-function green space into an inclusive community park. The role of our master plan was threefold. First to create an evidence base for and selection of a site for the new aquatic centre within the park, secondly to connect the precinct back across the rail line to the rest of Parramatta Park and thirdly to consult widely with the Parramatta community and design the future park to accommodate community requirements. The challenge inevitably became how and where to fit this extensive new program whilst protecting the picturesque world heritage context and it’s key visual relationships.

We developed a range of visual principles to characterise some of the potential attributes of the future large parkland.

We recorded the special qualities of the space itself, to communicate with community and stakeholders.

Our Mays Hill Master Plan identified how the new Parramatta Aquatic Centre should be sited within the Mays Hill parklands. We set out clear principles which positioned and shaped the new facility in relation to the broader landscape values and the world heritage context.

We developed clear principles for the 20 hectare site in order to retain its landscape value, whilst developing a design framework within which we could site diverse uses.

We consulted widely with the Parramatta community. The diverse community requested an equally diverse range of uses… a program too big for a park even of this size.

Our solution was to develop a series of sculpted landforms, building on the remnant landform of the old golf course. These landforms allowed us to protect and focus key views and existing scenic relationships. Within these landforms we folded a hybrid recreational terrain attempting to cater for the diverse programmatic requests of the community.

The final Mays Hill Master Plan was adopted and the location for the new Aquatic Centre was endorsed. The new Parramatta Aquatic Centre has now been designed and constructed in accordance with the Master Plan.

Interested in learning more about Tyrrell Studio? Get in touch.