The Canopy recently received a Commendation and was a runner-up in the category of Best Planning Ideas - Small Project at the 2020 Planning Institute of Australia Awards for Planning Excellence.
The Canopy is home to Lane Cove’s premier fine dining, food and beverage destination conveniently located within the busy Lane Cove village amongst the active high street commercial and retail precinct.
The Canopy offers a unique environment for the community and retailers to converge within a purpose built facility that provides convenience and atmosphere for day and night trading and activities. Overlooking the manicured open green space, The Canopy offers an abundance of light and functional casual and formal dining options, with the added bonus of park activities for all ages and a purpose built stage for entertainment and events.
The Canopy Design
Unlike other surrounding shopping areas which have seen the commercial precinct grow in scale and height, Lane Cove has focused on retaining the village look and feel. The Plaza has long been the focal point for the village and The Canopy has been designed to complement it by providing the only element missing in the village, a park.
Coming through the new connection from the Plaza to The Canopy, the first element is the new town square. It was inspired by the small squares in Europe, where people can sit and observe, pass through, enjoy fountains and the retail along the edge. It is intended that the monthly Makers Markets will expand into the square along with other special events and equipment which can benefit from the flexibility of an open, hard surface that is central to the Village.
The Reflections entrance canopy is designed to be an iconic and flowing gateway which serves as an obvious entry and meeting point. The reflective underside of the roof provides an artistic ‘periscope’ that visually connects the new park with the supermarkets below. The inclusion of the Green Wall helps to transition visitors from the underground level to the community park level.
The Village Green provides the opportunity for passive recreation and on occasions, performances. The grass provides an area to relax and the trees lining the walkway will ultimately provide dense shade to the western sun in summer. It incorporates state of the art audio and visual equipment and a stage that extends to allow a full concert band to perform. Live performances in the space will be a feature on weekends and Movies in the Park will take on a whole new experience with the quality that is now possible. These activities will be addition to activities and events which occur in the Plaza.
The Canopy playground is not your average neighbourhood playground, it has a different role. The equipment selected was intended to be ‘different’, incorporating height, water, sand, and timber unlike any other park in Lane Cove. It is designed to be a ’treat’ when visiting the village where children and parents can engage with the space. Consideration was given to fencing the playground, however, ultimately the decision was not to fully enclose it. The plentiful seating, including the deck to the southern restaurant tenancy and elevated sandstone edge which provides informal seating along the entire park, are all designed to allow easy surveillance for parents. Given the proximity of shops, the temptation to leave young children in a fenced area and go shopping was something to be avoided. There is approximately 40 metres between the playground and shared zone to provide a safety margin, should a child wander.
The design incorporates permanent shade sails for the area designed for younger children. For the area with equipment designed for older children, the arbor vegetation and other planting when established will ultimately provide shade. Children of this age are taught to be sun safe throughout their school lives and use of this area will require this until the vegetation is established.
The northern garden area is intended to be a quieter space. In time the dense planting along the main walkway will separate it from the rest of the park. It includes shelters and BBQs and a variety of smaller scale seating areas. The timber play equipment, stepping stones and paths are designed for younger children to explore.
The Eat Street retail and shared zone offer the opportunity to activate Birdwood Lane and connect to the rest of the village. The Eat Street retail is double sided with options for the restaurants to have outdoor seating on both sides. The inclusion of a shared zone is designed to provide increased activity which prioritises pedestrians over vehicles, while still providing access for businesses and the shop-top residential units. Signage and rumble strips have been provided at intervals to remind vehicles to slow down. RMS rules stipulate that there are no road lines, kerb or gutter in a Shared Zone to show that pedestrians and vehicles are equal. NSW road rules require drivers to travel at 10km/h or less and give way to pedestrians at all times. Council continues to investigate ways to help educate pedestrians and drivers to these new conditions.
Council is proud that The Canopy is also home to a range of features that promote an inclusive community.
Of note is Lane Cove’s first Changing Place, a change facility with adult change table, hoist, shower, peninsula door, which allows people with high support needs to fully participate in the community. There are just 136 of these facilities in Australia and The Canopy Changing Place (at the northern end of P1) is the only one available in a public space on the North Shore.
In addition, there are bicycle end of trip facilities and racks at the northern end of P1, along with accessible toilets at each end of the park level of The Canopy. The amenities closest to the children’s playground also feature a Parents Room complete with nursing chairs and baby change facilities.All connections to and pathways throughout The Canopy are at accessible grades, a huge improvement on the previous open-air car park which had a significant slope and limited pathway connections. This includes all paths around the playgrounds, which also includes a Sway-Fun Glider ® which can accommodate wheelchairs and walking aids.
The Canopy Car Park includes 14 disabled, 16 Seniors and 8 Parents with Prams spaces located across the four levels of the underground car park which is supported by travelators and lifts to bring visitors to the retail and park levels.
The Canopy is home to many new sustainability features, including a living, breathing green wall, 230 solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and a bespoke galvanised arbour. Find out more below.
AN AUSTRALIAN FIRST: During the design process of The Canopy, Council recognised the opportunity to show its support of new technologies that can help to achieve our zero emissions. As a result, when you visit The Canopy a must-see is our bespoke solar arbour beside the children’s playground – this arbour features innovative printed solar cells developed by the University of Newcastle and Lane Cove is the only public place in Australia where you can see these cells in action.
From 5:00pm each day visitors can trigger the motion sensors to display LED lighting which is powered by these ultra light-weight, flexible and recyclable solar cells. To help explain what the arbour is all about, visitors to the installation can use their phone to discover a one-on-one augmented reality experience featuring an immortalised, holographic of the creator of the cell technology, Professor Dastoor.
“We’ve installed sensors as part of the display so the lights will actually detect movement and follow people as they move along the arbour. The lights are programmable so we can set them to specific colours to celebrate awareness events or other significant moments,” said Professor Dastoor.
The low-cost, light weight, flexibility and durability of the material are inspiring a range of possible applications including disaster relief and recovery applications; retractable recharging systems for electric vehicles, caravans/camping and the defence industry; floating covers for dams and pools; yacht sails; smart blinds for residential and high-rise buildings; greenhouse covers and more.
Designed to carry climber plants over 40 metres of winding path, the impressive solar arbour has recently been the feature of several news stories. You can find out more by visiting the University of Newcastle website.
The Canopy is not only about saving energy but also about generating energy too. 230 solar panels help to provide around 300kw of power to The Canopy car park and park lighting each day. Over the course of a year this saves 83 tonnes of CO2. It will save around $25,000 a year in energy costs, helping to future-proof against rising energy prices. The solar panel system also provides energy that is stored in four TESLA power wall batteries within the car park. Each system stores 13.5kw of power as well as 7kw of back up power to help in the event of a black out.
The travelators slow down when not in use to help conserve power while the regenerative lifts when braking while going down generate power to go back up. This feature recovers up to 30% of the total energy consumption of the lifts.
LED Lights are also installed throughout the car park and public areas of the park level to help reduce energy consumption.
The Canopy is home to a dense collection of plants that form a living, breathing ‘Green Wall’. This 20 square metre wall houses a mixture of plant species scientifically developed to improve air quality ncluding Philodendron Xanadu, Alternanthera Dentata, Philodendron Imperial Green, Philodendron Hope and Westringia Fruticosa to name a few.
In addition to accelerating the removal of air pollutants, the wall also acts as a sound barrier, improves acoustics and cools the immediate surrounding air temperature. The wall’s location also helps to create the green reflection you can see as part of the overhead canopy structure.
The Canopy features 90,000 litres of water harvesting capacity. Rain water from the water feature and the roof of our buildings is captured and reused for landscape irrigation. The Canopy's fountain was selected as it is ultimately more sustainable than a traditional permanent, recirculating fountain. It consumes less energy, requires no chlorination and uses less water as it avoids water loss through evaporation and wind. The fountain features 46 jets with lighting which are programmable to allow various sequenced displays.
The Canopy's Green Wall
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A project of Lane Cove Council