DESIGN INTENT – Situated adjacent to the Brickworks Marketplace, ‘Port + Passage’ connects social nodes through pathways, bridging separated and opposing zones. ‘Port + Passage’ uses language of the meandering river with metaphors of life’s journey to generate an architectural gesture that cuts through divisions in the landscape, providing a safe passage and harbour for social interaction. A mixed use program was developed incorporating a cafe destination for pedestrian movement along the River Torrens linear park with dog care and animal therapy.
People are drawn to nature for solitude, social interaction, relaxation and physical activity. The Brickworks site was selected in response to initial investigations identifying the need for a place to stop and be refreshed while moving through the linear park. A number of neighbouring social nodes and landmarks were identified. These areas felt separated by the hard edges of typological zones, creating disconnection, with uninviting borders and a feeling of psychological tension. This led to consideration of an architectural intervention that could create pedestrian pathways leading out from the linear park and bridge connections.
Asking what shapes these connections and generates the architecture, five physical elements that influence the structure and identity of a city were explored: Paths, Edges, Districts, Nodes and Landmarks. Using the landmarks as way finding devices, the social nodes and landmarks were graphically connected using visual sight lines. This graphic revealed pathways that could connect more effectively through it’s border zones. Using the sight lines and lines projected from the existing urban fabric a web was generated that started to inform the architecture. This allowed specific location and context to inform the architecture and bring meaning to the process. Working in plan and section the lines played with fragmented parts and tension between the adjoining zones leading to explorations of concepts of tension between opposing forces like tectonic plates shaping geological forms.
Considering how landscape is formed, I explored the way rivers carve a path and how goat tracks are formed through a repetition of movement along a path, as a metaphor for shaping a person’s journey through life. Using this metaphor in the process of line making I developed a visual language focusing on different speeds of movements and repetition of line work along the connecting paths. The search for ‘The Line’ led to research into the Futurist Movement, particularly the work of Marcel Duchamp and Giacomo Bella. Looking at how overlaying a sequence of images can represent movement within the same picture, generating a new unified and inseparable image. Using repetition of line as a frame work I moved between drawing and sculpture informing each design iteration.
Reflecting on the 65+ age group through Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ I gained conceptual inspiration from raging against the adversity of growing old, with hope for the future and a renewed richness of living. The fight is reminiscent of tree roots that force their way through the ground against an opposing force.
Through the interplay of form making and site context I developed a layered program, expanding on the initial hospitality social node and pathways, incorporating dog therapy. This evolved out of a discovery of a sign at the edge of the Brickworks Marketplace that read “No Dogs Allowed within Complex”. Dog walking is popular activity along the linear park. As this architectural scheme seeks to promote pedestrian movement and connection from the linear park, also considering the needs of 65+ with dogs, dog minding and grooming were integrated within a mixed use program. Later, animal therapy in the cafe for visitors who don’t own a dog was developed.