Architects of Arcadia

Heros of Nature Play

POSTED IN General March 30, 2015

Check out these playgrounds in Adelaide!

Burnside Adventure Playground

Belair National Park

Bonython Park

Bonyathon ParkIMG_7034crop IMG_7043crop






















Hazelwood Park

Hazelwood Park Hazelwood Park































Kensington Park

Kensington park Kensington Park































All of these playgrounds are great examples of nature play, using successful elements in their design.



Playground Tour: The Exercise Edition!

POSTED IN General February 26, 2015

24th February 2015

Our latest Playground Tour focused on the co-location of fitness equipment near playgrounds (and other park facilities). We visited 4 parks in the Penrith Area, each with differing fitness offers. There were approximately 40 attendees (fully booked) from all over NSW, a great turnout, showing again how people appreciate the opportunity for informal learning in the more social setting of outdoor tours.

Our office in conjunction with Kidsafe, PLA and AILA have run playground tours for the last four years, averaging 3 tours a year. Planning for the next one is underway!


Fiona illustrates her discussion with the multi-generational fitness equipment guide.Fiona speaking

Andrew Robinson at Jamison Park expounds the theory of co-locating playgrounds and fitness stations in parks.Andrew and Fiona














Fiona demonstrates her core strength on the Chest Press!Fiona on the Chest Press















Thanks to everyone who attended the tour! We hope you enjoyed the day with us, and have shared your learning with your respective office teams. Ready for action!

Australia Day

POSTED IN General | TAGS : , January 26, 2015

On Australia Day we are considering what being proudly Australian means to our practice. Our approach is that our projects are inspired by Australian culture: theming, planting, materials and equipment celebrate the Australian spirit!

Our aim is that anyone anywhere in the world would look at our work and say “How Australian”

Some examples that illustrate our philosophy are:DSCN8651 watermarked

  • • Collaroy – the Aussie Beach scene, with sunscreen sculpture!


  • • Nurragingy-Kookaburra – Australian Fauna and materials (e.g. Australian hardwoods)

Kookaburra (193) watermarked

  • • Yokine – Karratha stone, Jarrah timber and the Honky Nut tree

Photos from Toby Sept 2012-19



Coincidently, we are currently designing a playground in Endeavour Park, Sydney, which embraces James Cook’s landing in Botany Bay in 1770. Cook mapped the East Coast of Australia, thus enabling the First Fleet to navigate their landing on the 26th January 1788!

2014 in Review

POSTED IN General December 23, 2014

2014 has been an exciting and very productive year for Fiona Robbé Landscape Architects! Our practice has been involved in a myriad of multi-disciplinary activities which are a hallmark of our specialisation in design for children. We give talks, run playground tours, attend industry events,  are involved with playground standards, write articles, participate in interviews; you name it we’re involved! In summary, our 2014 achievements include:

Completed Projects

Throughout 2014 a number of our playgrounds were constructed and opened; now being used! These are:

  • Collaroy Beach playground
  • Gleneaon High School amphitheatre and steps
  • St Marks Primary School playground
  • Janet Beirne Park
  • Kukundi playground
  • Tempe Public School playground
  • Kenthurst Kindergarten sandpit
  • Little Bay Cove playground


This year saw the introduction of the new Playground Standards AS4685, a huge achievement for our playground standards committee. It was an exacting process with worthwhile outcomes for Australian play design. Our aim was to make outdoor play more challenging within a risk-benefit-assessment framework.

We are now working on updated versions of AS/NZS 4422: Playground Surfacing – Specifications, Requirements and Test Method, as well as AS/NZS 4486.1-6: Playgrounds and Playground Equipment. This update harmonises all aspects of playground provision into one approach.

About to be released in 2015 is an updated version of AS4685.11; the Spatial Network standard, which brings the 2012 edition of this standard into 2014 thinking.

None of this is for the faint-hearted, but the new standards represent such progress for the playground industry!

Playground Tours

We are proud to have collaboratively run 2 playground tours this year. This is a collaboration between Kidsafe, AILA and PLA (and our office, of course).

  • 1. The first playground tour, in July, took the group to the Children’s hospital at Westmead. We talked about the new standards and their application to playgrounds.
  • 2. The second tour, in November, went to the Northern beaches (Collaroy playground and Winnererremy Bay playground). The topic of discussion was shade provision in playgrounds.

Playground tours continue to be popular for a broad range of participants, and are an exciting way of engaging practical theory and connecting like-minded people.

Our next playground tour is scheduled for the 24th February next year, and will focus on fitness equipment.


Fiona continues to share professional insights into outdoor children’s play across a number of disciplines Australia wide. This year she has given 8 talks, spread between:

  • 2 in Perth
  • 1 in Brisbane
  • 5 in Sydney (3 University lectures)


FRLA has won three awards this year:

  • 1. Merit Award for Design – Yokine Playground
    We are proud to receive a design award, as it is often difficult to be recognised for our achievements in inclusive play
  • 2. Premier’s People Choice Award for Public Space – Lemur Forest Adventure, Taronga Zoo
    It’s great to see a playground project being voted as a favourite outdoor space of Sydney-siders. (For our third year in a row!)
  • 3. Adventurous Play Spaces Award – Calista Oval Playground
    This award recognises our innovative approach to consulting with children, in decisions which affect their lives. It is heart-warming to be recognised for this part of our unique design process.

For the full list of awards FRLA has received over the years, see our Awards Page.


We’re really looking forward to the construction of the following projects in early 2015:

  • Kellyville Public School K-1 Playground
  • Peel Reserve, The Ponds – for LANDCOM/Blacktown City Council
  • Reconciliation Park, Redfern – City of Sydney
  • Jamison Park, Penrith – Penrith City Coucil
  • Lady Gowrie Children’s  Centre, Erskineville, Gowrie NSW
  • St Christopher’s Primary School’s central playground





play patrol xmas craftFiona, Jacqui, Alice and Lachlan concluded our year of involvement at Arcadia Public School with a Christmas craft session. Our weekly involvement with children at the school keeps us up-to-date with children’s culture. Fiona visits the school weekly for games and fun at lunch, with students ranging from Kindergarten to year 6!


2015 promises to be full of exciting achievements for children, and we look forward to delivering these. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Fiona, Rolfe, Debbie, Jacqui, Alice, Lachlan and Badja!