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, and offers a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the curriculum for primary school learning in NSW.

The aim of the practice is to teach holistically through the engagement of hands, heart and mind alongside nature to develop the whole learner, 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 telling us 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 inter-linking roof canopy providing shade and protection from inclement weather. Materials used for the construction are natural, hand-made and self-finished, in keeping with the mature landscape context and guiding ESD objectives of the project.


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