Workshop ‘Building Communities’, UNSW
14th-25th January 2019
Extract from the brief:
Sydney is undergoing unprecedented population growth posing predictable pressures on the urban setting. The studio will focus on an area under such pressure between Sydenham, Marrickville and Tempe train stations in metropolitan Sydney.
This is a diverse, multicultural part of the city with a number of small centres and communities of Asian and European heritage, giving a very distinctive identity to the area.
The place is a mixture of warehouses, stores, factories, workshops, car repair shops, offices and residential areas from different historical periods, mixed with the infrastructure of the rail corridor and the Cook’s River. This variety of programs produce an overlapping of styles, typologies, scales and densities with strong social implications. A perfect place to be in and observe, to participate in its evolution.
The studio proposes to test the capacity of this area to increase residential densities with the aim to create new communities which mix and add to that which exists. The challenge is to observe and value not just the built heritage but also the social heritage – the rich variety of cultures that coexist in a relatively small area making it a whole world within the city.
It takes time to get to know one’s neighbours, years to have a street with its own atmosphere. This multiculturalism is so difficult to obtain and at the same time so fragile. Its delicate equilibrium can be easily broken and erased if planning for increased densities does not take the time to learn and incorporate the unique richness that these communities have to offer. A proposal to bring more density to this area must grow from the deep observation of the as-found, absorbing the energy of the place.