The ABC Opened

The final project for my Architecture MA at UTS was an intensive four week studio aiming to recreate an architectural competition atmosphere, it’s focus the Sydney’s south central creative quarter, i.e. Ultimo, and the pedestrian network in particular. The studios aim was to generate a catalyst for new material organisations through architectural thinking, and an engagement with the multiple stakeholders of the area, namely ABC, The City of Sydney, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Frasers Property, UTS, TAFE, Rail Corp and CitiGate Hotel.

Under the tutelage of Billy Feuerman of Office Feuerman myself and Will Cooper explored the role of the ABC. We sought to question what interior spatial relationships could be made between key stakeholder buildings and new spaces within the quarter, looking at the Ultimo Pedestrian Network less as a spine but more of a network that extends to different parts of the city, from inside to out. From an initial “forensic mapping” that sought to uncover relationships from room to building to block to city we studied the interior workings of the ABC to uncover aspects that could extend into the public realm. What we identified was the shrinking of office and media production space created by advances in technology that has started to create dead space within the ABC. Our agenda was to allow the public up into these spaces to observe the inner workings of the National public broadcaster. In return the ABC would receive new recreational spaces, and engagement opportunities with a captive audience.

The architectural scheme proposed an opening up of the ground plane to connect Harris Street with the pedestrian network, whilst allowing ABC employees to access their building from underneath. Pop ups break through the surface to reveal media studios and connections to facilities in the ABC building above. Both the ground plane and the open spaces within the building become accessible and public, within physical and visual connections throughout. At level three a public facilities loop (archive, studios, library) with connecting cafe provides a focus for public use and natural surveillance through use. The intention was for an engagement with the public with ABC’s radio and TV media production encouraging a further interaction through social media ultimately blurring the boundary between the public space of the Ultimo pedestrian network and the expanded ABC building.