ENCLOSE, DIVIDE, PROTECT
In addressing the potential for a future cross-river infrastructural development, a design has been proposed to incorporate key infrastructural elements into a greater precinct within the suburb of Fairfield. The proposed site for the development is within close proximity to the Brisbane River and University of Queensland. With consideration to the surrounding suburban context of Fairfield, the various urban layers and strategically identifying elements of ‘terrain vague’, a re-claimed water purification and research center, a recreational fitness and gymnasium facility and a centralised chiller plant have been proposed.
To connect these ideas into the competition project, various key design strategy has been proposed for this development project. Fundamentally, when designing within the scope of the city, it is important to consider the analogy of the city as a room, whereby elements of a room may encompass the city as a whole and parts of the city may define a room. The various surrounding urban layers of Fairfield and Yeronga have become a strong justification for this design to create an infrastructure development as one single room or element.
The Palaestra evokes the need for social, sporting and competitive gathering around gymnasium and sports court spaces. The key idea behind this collage is to identify each sporting complex as a semi-enclosed outdoor space, focused on creating a rooftop vault and enveloping the inhabitants in a central space. The lower zone of the Palaestra encases its participants at eye level, which has been enclosed within a wall pattern. Additionally the use of viewing platforms has been a strong consideration as a social means and gathering spot above the ground floor to create a ‘secondary’ space away from the sporting ground.
In utilising the Western wall to its fullest potential, the idea to place pipes, servicing and access was incorporated on the uninterrupted mega-wall to represent the technology behind the purifier. This mega structure hosts the purifier’s servicing and distributes or carries it conveniently across the site or to the necessary programs of the infrastructure development. This collage identifies a disparity between the open, vegetated zone to the West of the site, comparative to this mega-structure and attached, externalized technology that protrudes out from the wall. The college itself becomes reminiscent of terrain vague and the opportunities created by this in-between void space.
This collage representing the plant has been intended to contrast with the surrounding fields, meadow and vegetation. The plant itself is in conjunction with the TES Tank, positioned as a visible icon for infrastructure to the northern edge of the proposal. Opportunities to maintain the current paddocks within Fairfield are represented by the horses while the zones captured by human inhabitants can be utilised for casual sport or games. The nearby creek is suggestive of the untouched, terrain vague spaces within close proximity to the plant and hope to be unkempt as proposal is carried out.
When beginning to work within the boundaries of the site, immediately the long north-south axis immediately evoked certain design ideas to this space. Envisioning a single wall that divided the site and enclosed certain parts of the program within the wall itself generated great interest towards my design. When exploring the various programs and conditions of the brief, a desire to incorporate each infrastructure element into this ‘room’ proposed itself as a challenge.
The key design strategy that drives this project is through a 450 meter singular wall element that hosts an eight meter wide pedestrian highway parallel to the wall. The highway and wall cater to each design condition as each zone branches off to the Eastern side of the site, leaving an uninterrupted ‘vague’ runway to the narrow, western strip of the site.
Utilising this axial highway and branching each element off the side often lead to an over-compression of the programs. In turn, this was not receptive or creative enough to the potential overlap of programs within the design and lead to making major changes for the final proposal. I had the desire to change this aspect and create conditions that meet in overlap, creating a medium for interaction between each program. The drama created by these typologies clash with one another evoking spontaneous and radical spaces along the pedestrian highway path.
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