ZONE 1_345 – 363 George Street, Sydney
This zone, situated in the mid-city, forms a good example of high rise mixed use offices for a range of business types. It summarizes many similar sites in the city, combining within the city block a range of new and old structures. Predominantly occupied by private companies, it also features the Property Council, restaurants and perimeter shopping in some sections. I t is clearly a typical city scenario. The block also features remnants of the old city’s structure via a network of redesigned laneways and interconnections within the block. The site perimeter is formed by George Street, Barrack Street, York Street and King Street.
In order to further test and illustrate the power of the research to suggest results, the original proposal sought to use a public art/ architecture intervention which reacted to these results with built form. Public art is privileged to transgress a variety of the city’s proprieties. However, this project alludes to a new situation of privilege which enables parasitic art/ architecture interventions to occur in future city developments.
The project was physically modelled first, using standard architectural modelling techniques at scale, combined with my use of readymade model pieces from kits for helicopters, aero planes, cars, and space technology. These forms, which have functional l inks back to the body, also provide a suggestive readymade palette for the artist/ designer to choose from which echoes the issues of adaptive re- use, recycling and transformation implicit within the Porosity Project as a foundation for renewal. I t can be argued that new shapes and forms do not need to be invented when such a rich choice of forms already to enliven the imagination. Central to this practice, which informs my gallery art, is also the notion that we simply cannot rebuild all the bad buildings within the city. Society has neither the time nor the energy resources. We need to adapt and transform existing structures in a process which also reinforces the definition of architecture as a process of continual f lux rather than timeless pristine stasis. In other words architecture is at best a continual process of becoming. The reality of the confusion of structures which constitutes a street from signs to the architecture of cars and buses, light poles, underground access stairs, building construction, paving, awnings, monorails, accidents, and endless renovations, makes a nonsense of modernism’s vision for the city.
The final forms of the Zone 1 Monkey Models (MAYA Modelling) were used to inform the possible shaping and con figuration of the parasite action. In particular, the massive foyer swellings in 363 George Street and its vertical connections with vacant floor protrusions from 345 George Street found l inks with public access via Barrack Street and York Street. Another extension which penetrated the external skin of 345 George Street formed the perfect possible pick- up point for monorail linkage of the entire parasite to other destinations in the city via George Street. Also, informing the parasite was the need to introduce a “news pace’ construction or central node in keeping with the possibility of suggesting the “diamond” form over the existing “graphi te” form of the city structure. This node found it’s position above the foyer of 363 George Street and below that building’s plant rooms. As a result, the public/ private foyer space is ghosted from above by a new public l ink space which feeds a network of parasite structures adjoining the historic Land Titles Building on Barrack Street and vacant floors in 345 George Street, which the study commandeers as public access and amenity with the possibility of private restaurants and shops etc. These spaces feed back to the public “news pace” and also to a proposed high speed monorail system, which would operate on George Street (Sydney’s main Street running north south between Central Station and Circular Quay).