We were invited to propose a design for this competition comprising a central Bus shelter and Railway entrance canopy as part of Sydney's urban redevelopment programme. The premise of our approach towards this fascinating competition was twofold. Firstly, we needed to create a network of structures which would form a distinctive, unique landmark integral to the Sydney cityscape, establishing its own self-sufficient identity through shape and form. Secondly, we simultaneously wished to invoke in the Sydney public a sense of collective pride and beauty, through a strong evocation of images, forms and ideas integral to Australian cultural identity.
Naturally none of these aspirations have any merit without a design that is also rigorously cost-effective, practical to build and environmentally sound. As each of the elements to be designed had a different use and location, our main challenge was to find a common language with which to link all three elements of the design. We therefore decided that the image of a boomerang, made of traditional Australian wood and evocative of movement and travel, would provide an ideal inspirational base. This fundamental form could then be adapted as three inter-dependent design solutions.
The boomerang provides a perfect template for a canopy in structural terms. We thereby firstly developed this unit as a modular solution which could be replicated at a very low cost throughout the city. Secondly, due to its affordability, durability and beauty, we felt that the timber of the widespread and iconic River Red Gum tree would provide an ideal primary raw material. Its laminated and weatherproofed timber elements could be transported onto site and assembled very efficiently and economically. Thirdly, the intricate connection between such design components would permit the individual structures to co-habit their site very successfully, providing a strengthened sense of identity to this part of the city.