Figures in the landscape.
Mount Annan Botanic Gardens NSW
Facade 33 BlighSt
In collaboration with Fitzpatrick + Partners Architects
Substation and office tower
Bligh & O’Connell Street Sculpture Walls
The design intention for the Bligh and O’Connell Street sculpture walls is to pay homage to the city’s history of stone by gracing the façades with the easy rhythm and natural majesty of our earliest landscapes. Indeed, many of the buildings in the Bligh and O’Connell Street area have been cut from local sandstone. This impulse echoes the real, but it’s important to acknowledge that the design scheme is also due to an unformed idea that shimmers, just to the left of my conscious mind; a nebulous dream area that remembers the organic shapes that have cradled humanity from earliest times. The Bligh Street façade has a harmonious rhythm, and hints at the geological slips and fissures of a rock face. O’Connell Street presents a more vertical scheme, but echoes geological patterns that run deep into the earth. Yet, while the façades trace the past memory of Sydney sandstone rock faces, they also live in the present, and look towards the future, for this raw material is the essence of an organically thriving and inspirational cityscape.
There is a strong dynamic to the structure of the design that manages to work within the limitation of the substation venting system. The needs of the substation demand a certain percentage of open area, and the stone slats provide an aesthetically pleasing solution. The slats will be 500 ml deep and 250ml wide, wrapping around the corner to give a rock edge effect. Important also is the texture. The lowest section of the Bligh Street wall will be a smooth saw-cut stone finish, the middle section above, a rougher finish, leading to the top section, that echoes a craggy rock face. Standing at street level, looking up, a passerby will be engaged by the interesting play of light and shadow that result from the varying textures. From a distance, the viewer will be caught by the elegant line-drawing simplicity of the design scheme. The building itself will reflect a merging of art and design pertinent to the intellectual and cultural aspirations of a twenty-first century city.