Emma Rees-Raaijmakers

HIDE@HYDE. A new era for Hyde Park. Public spaces need ‘play’ for a viable future.

HIDE@HYDE is a playful reimagining of Hyde Park in Sydney, inserting two playscapes into this significant public space in the heart of the metropolis. Originally envisaged as the ‘grand quadrangle’ of a neoclassical town plan, Hyde Park’s first use was a course for horse racing. By the 1820s, it had become a popular venue for cricket matches and informal children’s games. While surrounded by public transport routes, museums and galleries, Hyde Park is surprisingly more a thoroughfare than a destination. It is high-time for Hyde Park to evolve and embark on a new era.

HIDE@HYDE brings play back to the centre of Sydney, reclaiming this public space for kids and anyone else with a spirit of adventure and thirst for play. HIDE@HYDE is not intended to be a playground segregated from the public realm with a fence and gate – but an integrated playscape. It is for ‘kids’ of all ages. An elderly couple will feel just as welcome to perch on a swing at HIDE@HYDE, as a group of teens will feel comfortable to meet there with friends, on their way home from school.

Hyde Park is Australia’s oldest park. Its 16 hectares of open space provide ample scope for HIDE@HYDE to find a pocket, located well away from the historically significant Archibald Fountain and Anzac Memorial. HIDE@HYDE will draw thousands of people to Hyde Park and entice them to stay a while, giving this important public space a new life and identity for the people of Sydney and beyond.

Subscribe for updates on the Public Space Ideas Competition