Arboretum Pod Playground

  • Pod 2
  • Arboretum Pod 2
  • Arboretum Pod 3

Project Brief

SQC Architecture were engaged to design, document, and superintend the development of a new toilet facility with the National Arboretum POD Playground. This new facility is consistent in quality and style to the POD playground detailing and the boarder Arboretum landscape.

Key project objectives:

  • Improvement of amenity for POD Playground visitors which both promotes and increases use of the playground;
  • Access to amenities consistent with the POD Playground opening hours;
  • Increase safety for users and easier access to toilet facilities for all users including persons with a disability, small children, baby change facilities and users with prams;
  • Reinforce the unique and multi-award winning Arboretum landscape; and
  • Provide a robust, low-maintenance facility to withstand high public use in an outdoor environment.


SQC Architecture’s approach was firstly to analyse the unique existing Arboretum landscape which ensured the toilet seamlessly integrated into the landscape and broader context of the Arboretum. This analysis also included thorough client briefing and an appreciation of the operational requirements.

The provision of an enlarged Unisex Accessible Toilet with baby change facilities and additional junior sized toilet pan provided an inclusive solution. In addition to this the facility also delivers greater amenity/ supervision for pram users and parents or carers of small children beyond traditional solutions.

The placement of the facility within the landscaped hillside achieved an integrated solution complimenting the existing scale and proportion of the Arboretum. Combined with the use of the Arboretum’s natural color and material palette the facility blends into the existing playground. The subtle use of finely manufactured materials, such as perforated metal and stainless steel, anchors the facility as an amenity building. Suggesting a more formal use and not ‘play equipment’ providing greater safety and amenity for users.

In addition to the client and facility manager’s praise, users of the POD Playground were extremely impressed with the outcome and felt the overall design did not in any way detract from the Arboretum landscape. The facility provided a vital amenity addition and turned project constraints into opportunities whilst working with the existing design elements. The project objectives were exceeded to produce a robust, aesthetically pleasing and practical design which was integrated into the POD Playground and border Arboretum landscape.


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