The Orchard, Ryde Square


CLIENT: The City of Ryde

The Orchard, Ryde Square is one of four finalists of the international design competition for an iconic new civic centre for The City of Ryde. 

The Orchard was designed in collaboration with Arcadia Landscape Architecture

To view our entry in full, please visit The City of Ryde

A changing of seasons
An Orchard is a community where mankind and mother nature coexist, each cultivating one another. Farmers seek sustenance and income. The trees seek farmers to harness their full potential. Both welcome the pitter-patter of rain, a dancing pleasure on the skin in the warm sunshine and crisp morning air. The orchard tree is a child’s playground, the flaking bark etched with tiny shoe prints.  The orchards’ fruit provides nourishment and growth, a burst of sticky juices in cheeky mouths. The orchard tree’s golden leaves signal the end of a season, returning to the soil that feeds the flowers and animals.

The urban orchard
The Orchard, Ryde Square adapts the symbiotic relationship to the scale of a city, with commuters, residents and workers, coexisting and cultivating one another. The Orchard sustains the community with its abundant fruit trees and civic initiatives. From cooking schools to the library, community gardens to wood workshops, everyone is invited to participate and grow with the precinct. The community sustains The Orchard through consumption and creation. Locally grown produce blossoms into markets and restaurants, craft from artist studios and workshops feed the boutiques and galleries, stories from our lives fill the theatres and plazas.

A site that breathes
The cosmos, community and culture are forged into a single cyclical identity – The Orchard. Built upon four pillars of sustainability, The Orchard nurtures the community through human, economic, social and environmental solutions. Sustaining humanity through childcare and education; sustaining economy through the cultivation and sale of local food and craft; sustaining society through safety and a dynamic ground plane advocating interaction; and sustaining environment through both architecture and urban design. The sleek towers incorporate double skin ventilated facades with integrated photovoltaics while public buildings advocate cross-laminated timber, stormwater and blackwater recycling, trigeneration, green roofs and walls to filter and enhance air quality. An expanded bicycle network promotes alternative modes of sustainable transport and enhances accessibility to the site.


Unearthing Ryde

The Orchard is unearthed from Ryde’s past and reimagined as a foundation for the future. The Orchard remembers and reimagines Maria Ann Smith’s trees of yesteryear, whilst moving beyond the Granny Smith apple to create a habitat that feeds all year round. It offers an inviting backdrop for pause and contemplation amidst the existing high speed infrastructure. In bridging over Devlin Street, The Orchard is knitted together with Top Ryde to create a site that advocates public ownership of the ground plane and is activated throughout the day and into the night. 


A beating heart
Through its varied programme, The Orchard brings people of different backgrounds together, offering a place for celebration, education, creativity and innovation. A place to call home. The Orchard is a sustainable ecosystem that seeks to remind generations that it’s the earth that feeds us, and we in turn feed the world through culture and creation.