Centennial Park Discovery Centre

Centennial Park Discovery Centre

In the centre of one of Sydney’s most beloved public spaces, the Wild Play Discovery Centre will provide a new focus for the educational program within Centennial Park.

Developed in collaboration with landscape architects Gallagher Studio, the project is modelled on the growing international movement of forest schooling and nature-based learning.

Forest school is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment. It also offers a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the primary school curriculum in NSW.

The practice aims to teach holistically through the engagement of hands, hearts and minds, alongside nature, helping the learner to develop cognitively, socially and physically. The need for this kind of learning is growing as our society becomes more urbanised and sedentary, and our connection to the natural world becomes lost.

There is an abundance of research showing that nature is fundamentally beneficial and leads to well-being, health, and happiness.

The proposed Discovery Centre will be located adjacent to the recently completed Ian Potter Wild Play Garden, centrally within Centennial Park, and in close proximity to the network of ponds and the planned new ponds walk. The building itself comprises a program of flexible multi-functional education spaces, along with staff and volunteer workspaces, storage, amenities for visitors and campers and a new cafe and kitchen.

The building is conceived as a free-form organic plan interwoven into the forest clearing setting, with individual functions contained within a series of pods arranged organically around a central landscaped gathering space.

The individual elements of the program are unified by an interlinking roof canopy that provides shade and protection from inclement weather. The construction materials are natural, hand-made, and self-finished, in keeping with the mature landscape context and guiding the project’s ESD objectives.


The Botanic Gardens and Centennnial Parklands
Gallagher Studio
Project Manager
Root Partnership
SDA Structures
Mech, Elec, ESD
Steensen Varming
Warren Smith and Partners
Complete Urban
Milestone Planning
Altus Group