Surry Hills Arts Precinct
SURRY HILLS ARTS PRECINCT
The late 20th Century saw a trend towards bigness in institutions and architecture. In the last 10 years we have witnessed some spectacular failures of both. Must complex programs inevitably result in big buildings? Is it possible to create architecture that is more connected, more effective, more contagious?
This project is a prototypical scheme for the deployment of a contemporary arts institutional program as a catalyst to engage an entire precinct. In selecting a site, the temptation to present a formal relationship to harbour or major public open space is avoided in favour of a five-hectare block on the working city fringe. The programs are exploded into components and compressed against the existing buildings and diverse activities of a city block. Over time, the entire block becomes engaged. The scheme maximizes activity by minimizing architecture, restoring faith in the city to invent its own stories.