August 19, 2022

Journey to paradise


Cape Reed was appointed as designer and contractor for an innovative ‘paradise park’ for children in Dubai.

Cape Reed was hired to create a children’s ‘paradise’ in Dubai – somewhere that children could spend time (without technology) and experience fresh air and adventure.

The park is known as ‘The Journey’ and is located just off of Dubai’s Kite Beach. The site covers a total area of 2,400m². The final designs for the project were completed in May 2015 and the contract was signed in June 2015. Construction started immediately and the project was completed in excellent time despite minor setbacks along the way. The final handover to the client took place on 1 October 2015. The architect and lead designer were Denise Grobbelaar and Renier Neethling from the Cape Reed Group of Companies.

The brief for The Journey required a number of key attractions which included a variety of play structures, landscaping to resemble a jungle, a coffee shop and a ‘farmer’s market’ area for children.

A chance to cool off

The play structures are as natural-looking as possible and themed to represent a jungle. The coffee shop is aimed at parents and guardians, while the farmer’s market creates a space for children to sell handmade products. Both the timber and thatch used in Cape Reed projects are carbon negative and score highly on the solar reflectance index (SRI), which measures a constructed surface’s ability to reflect solar heat. This means that on hot days, temperatures underneath the structures can be as much as 10°C cooler than under a standard roof.

The thatched timber structures are eco-friendly and sustainable, whilst also being durable and used for a multitude of activities. Large double doors and an elevated arch form the entrance to the park, implying the entrance to a castle. Upon entering the park visitors are immediately met by the shade and intended temperature drop.

A plethora of climbing structures awaits the children, including various climbing passages, ropes and walls, as well as elevated towers, monkey bars, cargo nets, slides, swings and sandpits. There are also mini ‘wadis’ – dry valleys or ravines which stay dry except in the rainy season. Additional activities include lessons in archery, cooking and survival in the wilderness, as well as general arts and crafts. A miniature farm allows children to get close to a range of farm animals, with opportunities to milk cows, collect eggs and ride horses. Extra features comprise of a vegetable patch and herb garden, as well as mango, lemon and fig trees.

A real oasis

The company’s design team worked closely with construction colleagues to create multiple enclosed areas which are used as restaurants, market areas and administration buildings, as well as the play structures and log cabins which form the core of the park’s design and appeal.

Local landscaping company and business partner, Escape Landscaping, was appointed as sub-contractor to fill in the blank spaces with vegetation and water features, seeking to create a real oasis in the centre of Dubai’s urban space. The second phase of The Journey was completed and opened to the public at the end of January 2016. The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm, which will be extended to 8pm during the next phase of development.

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