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Leisure heads to city rooftops

Leisure heads to city rooftops
September 7, 2012

Recent announcements of diverse leisure opportunities being developed on the rooftops of city centre buildings reinforce a trend identified in a feature in the July/August 2012 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.

Opening in the heart of Sydney this week, luxury fitness brand Hard Candy Fitness' latest club includes a rooftop outdoor training space with a climbing cage and space for 'Warrior' and 'Bootcamp' training methods.

Meanwhile the rooftop of Melbourne's Fed Square car park has recently been transformed into a vibrant vegetable garden in a joint initiative between the management of Fed Square and the Little Veggie Patch Co.

The Fed Square 'Pop Up Patch' is made up of over 140 'do-it-yourself' veggie plots housed in individual recycled apple crates the majority which are leased to the public.

All the restaurants and cafes at Fed Square have their own plot, where they'll be growing fresh ingredients to use in their daily menus.

The growing regional trend for leisure activities to be sited on rooftops in increasingly populated urban areas was identified in a feature 'Sky's the Limit' in the last issue of Australasian Leisure Management.

Author and Australasian Leisure Management Editor Karen Sweaney explains how a new generation of rooftops in resorts, residential apartment blocks, shopping malls, schools, attractions and council facilities are leisure options including swimming pools, children's playgrounds, fitness spaces, cinemas and sports venues.

In the feature, Sweaney highlights how "at three times the length of an Olympic pool and sited 55 storeys in the air, the infinity pool in the iconic rooftop Sands SkyPark atop Singapore's luxury Marina Bay Sands is perhaps the world's most famous rooftop pool. Opened in 2010 as a signature feature of one of the world's top integrated resorts in Asia, the pool not only offers breathtaking views of Singapore and its Straits but is also a significant Singapore attraction."

The feature then explains how Singapore's lack of space dictates that its shopping malls and residential blocks featuring creative playspaces, dog walking tracks and sports courts.

Tobias Volbert, Project Development Manager at Brisbane-based Playscape Creations is pushing for rooftops to become multifunctional and multigenerational leisure spaces. Volbert is passionate about incorporating fitness equipment into a variety of outdoor environments suggests that Playscape Creations new Healthbeat Outdoor Fitness System can be easily integrated into a rooftop spaces.

Two years ago, Conrad Gargett Architecture helped St Laurence's College and the Mater Hospital in South Brisbane join forces to utilise the limited space around their sites.

The solution was to build a five-storey car park for the Mater's new Children's Hospital (which they will operate on a 80-year lease) complete with a school sports field on the roof. Measuring 130 x 80 metres, the College's Gair Field has a Prograss synthetic surface complete with the College crest.

Sweaney's feature suggests that pressures for imaginative use of urban space look set to increase as cities grow denser and green spaces diminish. According to the Husqvarna Global Gardens Report 2012, cities across the world are losing green spaces at an alarming rate. Among several examples, the report highlights that green space in Ho Chi Minh City has shrunk by half in only 10 years.

The Husqvarna Report suggests that one simple yet ingenious way of combining more densely distributed buildings with more green spaces is to resolve the potential conflict over land by simply putting the one on top of the other. This is the core concept of green roofs; a solution that has already begun to be implemented in many places, and which we will most likely see more of in the future.

Sweaney's 'Sky's the Limit' feature also reports on an unusal rooftop attraction, The Cairns Wildlife Dome. A spectacular all-weather wildlife exhibit, encased by a 20-metre high glass dome on the rooftop of the Reef Hotel Casino, in the heart of Cairns, where visitors are immersed in a rainforest environment, the attraction is soon to be augmented by the Cairns ZOOm offering visitors the exhilarating experience of rope courses and zip lines through and over the animals including Goliath the saltwater crocodile! 

Click here to read the full feature by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine.

Article amended 2nd August 2016.

Images: The Sands SkyPark rooftop pool at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands (top) and a rooftop futsal facility in Hong Kong (below).

25th July 2012 - ZIP LINE ATTRACTION TO TRAVERSE CAIRNS WILDLIFE DOME’S CROCODILE ENCLOSURE

9th July 2012 - FUTSAL FACILITY OPENS ON SINGAPORE ROOFTOPS

6th July 2012 - SYDNEY ENCOURAGES ROOF TOP LEISURE

21st March 2012 - FIVE-A-SIDE FOOTBALL CENTRES OPEN IN NSW 

17th March 2011 - NEW SPORTS FACILITIES STRATEGY FOR SINGAPORE

2nd July 2010 - SWIMMING 200 METRES ABOVE SINGAPORE

22nd June 2010 - NIKE JAPAN PARK FACES OBJECTIONS

29th March 2010 - INDOOR GAME INTEGRATES WITH NEW ZEALAND FOOTBALL’S DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY


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