Court Yard

Ivanhoe East, Victoria, 2017

Pollen were engaged to design a multi-sports court and rear garden for a family at their Ivanhoe East residence in Melbourne. The combination of Court + Yard provides the family with multiple opportunities to simultaneously engage in active sports as well as passive recreation by making the most of the site’s underutilized spaces.

With a family of active teenage boys and a lack of usable garden, the residents were quickly running out of space. The rooftop of their existing garage, set well below the level of the house, presented a perfect opportunity for a multi-court at the bottom of the site, whilst allowing panoramic views from the house over the new garden. Development of the brief began by assessing the combinations of activities which could be accommodated on the existing roof surface, simply through line marking and court infrastructure. The space accommodates a variety of sports such as basketball, badminton, handball and volleyball, utilizing flexible court furniture. A terraced timber seating platform divides the court from the garden as a transitional zone for parents and friends. Due to the close proximity of neighbouring houses as well as the need for the court to contain stray basketballs, a screen was required for the perimeter of the court. Pollen developed several designs with a local screen-printing company to provide a solution that achieves the right balance of porosity and image. The graphic court screen acts as urban camouflage, playfully conversing with the surrounding landscape while adding depth to a spatially restricted site. The lawn area was built up to create a ‘ha-ha’ effect resulting in an elevated lawn that accentuates views towards the Dandenong Ranges. The new terrace presents a playable lawn surface between the pool and the court, whilst also concealing large underground water tanks and becoming an opportunity for the tiered court-side seating. Pollen guided the town planning process and developed a comprehensive brief with the client, which led to an in-depth analysis of the site’s potential within its limiting surface area and topographically challenging context. The project was followed through from site analysis right through to documentation and contract administration, demonstrating a continued trust with the client. The finished product is a robust and beautiful centerpiece where a visual blight once sat. As the client says, “the team at Pollen transformed a dull corner of our yard into a visual and functional centrepiece. Given an unusual brief to create a sports court on top of an existing concrete garage, the end result combines landscaping, decking, turf, lighting, storage, an original large-scale artwork and even a water bubbler, as well as the sports facility. The team handled each stage of the process with care and patience, never losing sight of the end goal, sharing a genuine enthusiasm for the project. The finished product exceeded my expectations, and we are as happy to look out onto the space as we are to play on it. A creative and functional success story.”

We acknowledge and respect all those involved in the project, including:

Straw Brothers (Landscape contractors)

Clive Steele Partners (Structural engineering)

Play Hard Sports (Sport equipment supply)

Melbourne Chain and Wire (Fencing supply and install)

Vivad Australia (Screen printing)

Selena McLaren Photography (Photography)

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