The STREETWORKS design competition organised by AILA NSW received fantastic support with 67 entries being received from both within Australia and internationally. It was rewarding to see such a high level of participation in this competition - and it is no doubt reflective of the interest that designers across the urban design spectrum have for the future of the public domain and its influence on city-making.
The brief called for submissions which looked to amuse, intrigue, inspire, and celebrate Sydney’s urban distinctiveness. The temporary schemes were encouraged by the brief to explore the possibilities of free and creative uses of public space in the city, responding to the individual site. Strong emphasis was placed on the level of innovation, sustainability, and the improvement to everyday urban life by design outcomes which embodied the notion of ‘lighter, quicker, cheaper’.
The key considerations highlighted in the brief were:
• the proposals relevance to City of Sydney’s ‘Sustainable Sydney 2030’
• the focus on reuse and recycling of materials
• contemplation of both daytime and night time activation
• understanding of site scale, benefit, exposure and social outcomes
• relationship of sites to each other.
The Jury comprised: Jane Irwin - AILA NSW President; John Choi - Founding Partner Choi Ropiha Fighera; Esther Anatolitis - CEO Melbourne Fringe; Russell Lowe – UNSW; and Sacha Coles -ASPECT Studios and chair. The Jury was assisted by Michael Ball from Design Landscapes on issues of constructability. The judging was undertaken over a full day at the UNSW. The Jury was impressed with the diversity, vibrancy and immediacy of the proposals. The strategies deployed were varied in the way they tackled the relatively open brief. Some schemes focused on the physical and spatial dimensions of the public domain, whilst others explored programmatic, historical, and interpretative dimensions of the built environment.
As with any cross section of designers, the emphasis from the Jury was diverse and spanned from support for proposals which:
- were conservative to ensure viability, especially through 3 month time frame
- had elements of the unexpected
- activated the space – to do not to just be – schemes which demanded use
- had spatial qualities that worked with the chosen sites
- commented strongly on the role of public space in the city, and
- were transformational.
After intensive deliberations the panel chose work which would transform the spatial qualities and offer sophisticated ways of activating each site. The selected projects were those which presented more than one possible program for the site, and indeed would allow for the spontaneous development of new activity - day and night.
The 5 winners were:
Green is Gold
Jean-Philippe Ducharne, Hossein Gholami, David Guy, Katie Hubbard, Scott Jackson, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
Barrack Street, Sydney
This outstanding scheme seeks to transform Barrack Street by creating the structural framework for the development of an urban garden made over time by recycled coffee cups and free garden materials. The scheme relies on participation by city workers to recycle their take away cups, and create the city garden by getting their hands dirty. The Jury was impressed with the reach of this project which seeks to involve surrounding cafes and businesses in the development of the scheme.
Beer Line, from Barley to the Bottle
Glenn McIntosh, Delia Ngay, Luke Wolstencroft, Sydney Australia
Hay Street, Sydney
The Jury selected this scheme principally for its beautiful relationship with its site in Haymarket and its public celebration of the production of beer in the public domain!
The long linear installation will develop over the three months to become a productive garden planted with barley, and cultivated to produce beer. The project and the process will be celebrated in a public event on site at the end of the three month period.
Walk the Line
Timothy Muhlebach, Stephen Tan, Pe Yang Teng, Gerhana Waty, HASSELL, Melbourne, Australia
George Street, Sydney
The Jury unanimously selected this scheme as it connects each of the other sites together by a colourful, on- ground graphic line. The x KM installation weaves and traverse city streets and provides games and joyful diversions along its length.
Sydney! There's something I've been meaning to tell you...
Jess Miley, Adelaide, Australia
Customs House Forecourt, Sydney
This has one of the most engaging of the schemes, yet it was not one that the Jury selected in the first cut. What emerged from a further investigation of the proposal was the exciting and yet subversive nature of the idea that the public were invited to comment, question or state their minds in a completely unregulated manner. Comments spanning the profound to profane, would be exhibited each day in one of Sydney’s premium public spaces, Customs House.
Kristi Park, Seattle, United States of America
Redfern Street, Redfern
The Urban Waterfall was one of the most simple and beautiful schemes. Its single purpose is to bring joy to forlorn public spaces by adorning over scaled, multicoloured urban head dress. The scheme frames a strong urban axis from Redfern Street to the train station and as the name suggests will have a dramatic effect as it falls from a great height and moves with the strong winds of the area.
There were two Commendations which were hotly debated and that the Jury thought were worthy of recognition:
1. Pulp Fiction - WHAT Architects, London, United Kingdom
2. Totem Tennis, The Hipster & The Bag Lady – OCULUS, Sydney, Australia.
The Jury commends all of the entrants for making the judging process an enjoyable, lively and highly positive one. We would also like to commend AILA NSW for taking the initiative to organise the STREETWORKS competition and showing leadership through design.