Bank Street Boat Park
Deborah Allen 3158147
Bank Street Boat Park is a new urban design project to be located at No 1 Bank Street, Pyrmont, and will comprise of urban parkland, public recreational boat storage, and the base, radio room and headquarters of the newly formed Marine Rescue NSW organisation. In order to develop a solid theoretical base for this project three major considerations that need to be investigated and these relate to the triangular relationship between water, architecture and people, the volunteer aspect of the service and the public interface that the organisation has with the wider community.
MARINE RESCUE NSW Marine Rescue NSW was announced in November, 2008 as a NSW Government supported initiative to combine the three separate volunteer marine support services working within NSW: Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol and Volunteer Rescue Association1. Much political pushing and pulling between the various organisations was involved particularly in regard to the infrastructure and resources that each of the services is in control of, and as such a brand new base for the new organisation can assist in solidifying the new singular identity to Marine Rescue in NSW. The Volunteer Coastal Patrol (VCP) was trialled by the Royal Australian Navy in 1937, and this organisation was vital in the guarding of commercial wharves, bridges and other infrastructure during the Second World War, and following the war assisted both the Water Police and the then Maritime Services Board in search and rescue operations and public boating education. A split occurred in 1961 due to internal bickering and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association 1
Marine Rescue NSW, â€œAbout Us,â€? Marine Resuce NSW, <http://www.marinerescuensw.com.au/index.php/about/> Accessed 26 July 2010.
(AVCGA) was formed and both groups continued to develop independently, with the AVCGA considered to have a national focus with VCP operating in NSW alone. In 1974 the VCP was given a royal charter, becoming the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol . In 1989 the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) was formed dealing with rescue units including land bases rescues and these operated marine units as well.2 Marine Rescue NSW brings all these separate organisations under one banner and one organisation in order to streamline and better manage the services that these organisations have been involved with: search and rescue, public education, emergency support, radio monitoring and safety promotion to name but a few.
WATER AND ARCHITECTURE The connection between water and architecture is something that one would expect to have been explored and investigated in a theoretical sense, but most of the literature available deals with the connection in the sustainable arena or relating to landscape design by way of fountains and similar inclusions of water in buildings or landscapes. While these are valuable areas of study, they are not directly relevant to informing the theoretical base for the project. Of more importance is the connection that humans and architecture can have in response to natural physical bodies of water such as the sea, beach, harbour, lake etc. In John Fraimâ€™s book â€˜Symbolism of Place: The Hidden Context of
Price, J, 'Volunteer Marine Rescue:Review of the structure, adequacy and long term viability of New South Wales Volunteer Marine Rescue Organisations, ' ( A report for Hon Joseph Tripodi, MP, Minister for Ports and Waterways NSW, 2008), 8; and Maritime NSW, 'The Way Forward: Marine Rescue NSW' (Discussion paper, Martime NSW, May 2010), 4
Communication3,’ water within most religions is described as symbolizing ideas of renewal, washing away, regeneration but also death. An example of this being Christian baptism by immersion, being representational of death, with the immersion, and resurrection in the coming up, and in totality being a symbol of being washed clean of sin. Water, based on its natural properties is related to fluidity and representative of the potential and the possible rather than the actual. Oceans and seas serve as symbolic of boundaries, barriers between nations and people, but also the boundary between up and down, and with the ocean being below sea level, is often associated with the more sinister aspects of symbolism such as hell. By it’s very size, the ocean is also symbolic of the masses, ever moving and yet formless, in contrast to the individual. Harbour, by its very definition denotes connotations of safety and refuge when contrasted against the danger of the sea, but when contrasted against the land, carries the symbolism of the sea to a lesser degree. Fraim4 also acknowledges a sense of romance within literature about the shore or harbour in contrast to either the metropolis or the rural inland. The cultural symbolism of these various elements impact our natural reflections and psychological responses to these elements and so provide a helpful background in understanding and developing the relationship between water, people and architecture.
In his prologue to the Architecture and Water Space5 edition of Process Magazine –Kazuji Watabe identifies four major forms of water space, being '1)
Fraim, John. Symbolism of Place: The Hidden Context of Communication. Accessed on 08 April 2010 http://www.symbolism.org/writing/books/sp/home.html.
Ibid Watabe. K, 'An attitude toward designing water space,' Process: Architecture, No. 24 (1981):6-7
â€œspoutingâ€? forms such as water vapour, springs, hot springs, geysers; 2) flowing forms such as clouds, subterranean water, and rivers; 3) falling forms such as rain, snow, and waterfalls; and 4) standing forms such as ponds, bogs, lakes and seas,' while also acknowledging the elemental flexibility and movement that occurs between these various forms within the natural water cycle. Of particular relevance to our investigation is the response of humanity and architecture to water space in the fourth form, particularly with regard to the sea, the harbour and the water's edge. Watabe highlights the historical attraction between people and the water's edge and the potential for water (in whatever form) to define and become part of the architectural experience, whether by simply reflecting the building via its surface or taking a more complex role within the architectural experience. In their article 'Images of Water and the Design of Water Spaces 6' Suzuki and Maeda respond to the ability of water to impact upon our senses, and propose that the structure of the water space, that is the spatial arrangement of the water relative to it's landscape, can invoke psychological responses, feelings of emotion in response to certain water-spaces. Suzuki and Maeda provide a systematic analysis of various spatial and directional relationships between land and water, and the psychological responses invoked, which provides a means of analysing and assessing sites, precedents and design choices. In the case of the marine base, water is present in the site as part of the landscape, or more specifically as an edge, or boundary to the site. Vittorio Gregotti7 in 'Territory and Architecture' describes the nature and landscape that 6
Suzuki. N, Maeda.Y, 'Images of Water and the Design of Water Spaces', Process: Architecture, No.24, (1981):10-12 Gregotti. V, 'Territory and Architecture' in Nesbitt. K, Theorizing a new agenda for architecture : an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996),
we construct our architecture in, not as a separate indifferent entity, but as a material thing which 'architecture has the task of revealing.' Martin Heidegger's description of the temple in 'The Origin of the Work of Art8' gives a poetic account of how this can be so, by its very existence the temple communicates the nature of the rocky ground, the violence of the storm, invisible air and raging of the sea, by its solidity and unchangeability. By this Heidegger seems to be illuminating the importance of contrast rather than imitation in the response that architecture can have towards nature and landscape. Gregotti, alternatively, extends the idea of architecture revealing landscape by considering the landscape itself as but another material for forming architectural space which also incorporates water space. That is to say that as a material, the landscape, has inherent properties, limitations and biases as does any material, which has to be factored into the architecture, but unlike other materials, which can be used at the discretion of the architect, the landscape is a non-negotiable material that will respond to the place created. As such, the seemingly concrete boundary of the water's edge within the relevant site for the marine base, will certainly influence the various design decisions but like any other material can be manipulated and used to best advantage within it's own inherent limitations, and in response to Heidegger, the base can magnify and highlight the surrounding landscape both water and land, without necessarily mimicking or imitating it, but rather allow it to be seen for what it truly is. Mooreâ€™s Water and Architecture9 seems to be the only text dealing directly with the relationship between humanity and the sea, and its architectural
340-342 Heidegger. M, 'The Origin of the Work of Art'(extracts) in Leach. N (ed), Rethinking Architecture: a reader in cultural theory (London: Routledge, 1997), 119-120 Moore. C.W, Water and Architecture (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1994), 156-165
implication. Moore highlights the tension that exists between humanity and the sea, with the ocean both being the sustainer of life within the world's ecology but also possessing the power to drown out life with its incredible natural power. An entity which is able to be a comfort and a companion to us yet by its very nature and existence highlights our smallness and the insignificance of our individual presence in the world. Moore describes some of the architectural interactions with the ocean, firstly within a literal context by way of the aquarium and how these buildings allow humanity to experience the life within the sea that is not apparent to us from our position on the land and the surface. Moore then discusses various architectural and urban responses that occur on the edge between the land and the sea ranging from a coastal Italian village, a large scale urban Hong Kong, the long standing exotic Balinese temple, Tanah Lot to the American condominiums high on the cliff face. Moore highlights the need for
architecture and urban
design to allow and encourage human access to the waters edge, in order than humanity can satisfy their attraction to the sea from a safe position and Moore considers the pier as a means of extending land over the water both as a practical mechanism but also a means of strengthening the human interaction with the entity of the sea. Moore also comments on the importance of views in regard to the connection of architecture and the sea, particularly in situations where physical connections are precarious such as cliffs. Moore gives quite a broad overview of the various forms of architecture that have arisen on the edge of the ocean and land, but not the specific architectural connotations that arise from this very significant location. What Moore does refer to is the notion of the 'edge' that exists between the land and the sea. The marine base occupies this edge or boundary position both
programmatically as a transition place for land-based inhabitation to on-water support service, and geographically as a building that will be located on the water's edge. Thus consideration of this edge or boundary position is significant in developing an understanding of the architectural position that this base will occupy. In his article 'The Phenomenon of Place,' Norberg-Schulz10 , defines the edge or the boundary as a space defining element.( Boundaries being markers that delineate some change from one side to the other, whether that be ownership, spatial experience eg inside-outside, or in our case a change in element, from land to water.) Norberg-Schulz quotes Heidegger such that a boundary is not the end of something put rather the beginning of somethingâ€™s 'presencing,' the beginning of its existence within its landscape. The natures of these boundaries are then informed by the openings within them, their transparency and permeability. While Norberg-Schulz cites the common boundaries of the built form , those being the wall, floor and ceiling, he also mentions the structural similarity of natural boundaries in the landscape, with this similarity being the basis for the relationship between man-made and natural places, which is significant for the marine rescue base, as while there are the inherent boundaries that will be formed in the architecture to come, the main boundary that characterises the site, and intention of the facility is the natural boundary on the water's edge. How this natural boundary is expressed both metaphorically and concretely will characterise the 'place11' that the base is to be.
Norberg-Schulz. C, 'The Phenomenon of Place' in Nesbitt, K, Theorizing a new agenda for architecture : an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 418-419 Ibid, 416
Paul Johnson in his book ‘The Theory of Architecture’12 provides another notion of the boundary, as referenced against the understanding of the 'centre.' Where the centre is representative of security and permanence, the boundary is the unstable and transitory and while this is not necessarily a literal statement, there is a literal representation of this notion in the case of the marine base, whereby a significant boundary borders upon the volatile, changeable and mystic entity that is the sea. Johnson cites Derrida, Banham and Guenon, in a describing the 'centre' as something that is within every part of a place, and not a single, physical location within that space, and the inherent dangers in attempting to determine and prescribe a physical focus and centre. In the instance of the marine
programmatically defines the entirety of the project, and to some degree the boundary, unstable and transitory as it is, becomes the centre. An extension of the edge or boundary is the idea of the threshold. The distinction here according to Walter Benjamin13 is that a threshold becomes more than a delineation between two different occurrences but rather is a zone, a place of inhabitation which Aldo Van Eyck terms the 'in-between14' and NorbergSchulz, 'as an embodiment of a difference.'15 Here we will look at the development of Van Eyck's ideas on the 'in-between' and the impact of that upon the threshold. Van Eyck took the term of ' the in-between' from the work of Martin Bauber 16, who 12 13
Johnson. Paul. A, The theory of Architecture (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1994), 387-388 Teyssot. G, 'Aldo Van Eyck's Threshold: The Story of an Idea' LOG 11(2008):40 Teyssot.G, 'Mapping the Threshold: A Theory of Design and Interface,' AA Files, vol.57 (2008):8 Ibid, 33 Norberg-Schulz. C, 'Heidegger's Thinking on Architecture', in Nesbitt. K, Theorizing a new agenda for architecture : an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995 (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), 436 Faraday. M, Nam. J, ‘Comparison of In-Between Concepts by Aldo Van Eyck and Kisho Kurokawa – Through Theories of 'Twin Phenomena' and 'Symbiosis',' Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering No 23 (2009):17
derived the term in considering the fundamental human condition of man desiring to be with his fellow man, and thus a space that is common to both is needed for communication between the two, hence 'the in-between.17' Van Eyck saw this as a means of reconciling the traditional polar relationships of light-dark, insideoutside, open-closed, small -large, etc. Van Eyck18 called these 'twin phenomena' where these complimentary or opposing aspects are reliant and reciprocal upon one another, that is two ends of a single entity. Van Eyck considered that to separate them was to make them meaningless with the meaning in twin phenomena being conveyed when both ends of the same entity are considered even when seemingly experiencing only one end of the entity. In order for them to operate together in their reciprocal nature, a transition between them commonly occurs, forming the in-between. 'It is still a question of twin phenomena; a question of making the in between spaces where they can be encountered, readily mitigating psychic strain 19.' Van Eyck makes it clear that one of the purposes of these in-between spaces is to transition man through from one polarity of a twin phenomena to the other in such a way that is humane, of comfort to those experiencing the transition, as Herman Hertzberger states ' Transitional places which invite people to stay.'20 According to Farhady and Nam, Kisho Kurakawa also developed an idea of the in-between, based upon the theory of symbiosis rather than twin-phenomena. As such, for Kurakawa, the in between provides for a dynamic relationship between two opposing elements that allows them to remain opposed via means 17 18
Ibid Van Eyck. A, 'Building a House,' in Hetzberger et al, Aldo Van Eyck: Hubertus House, (Amsterdam: Stichting Wonen, 1982), 43. Van Eyck, 45 Hertzberger. H, 'The mechanism of the twentieth century and the architecture of Aldo Van Eck' in Hetzberger et al, Aldo Van Eyck: Hubertus House, (Amsterdam: Stichting Wonen, 1982), 26
such as a neutral zone. Whereas Van Eyck considers his twin phenomena as parts of a single whole, Kurakawa maintains the polarities as different entities, but both Van Eyck and Kurakawa acknowledge that the contrast or juxtaposition of two opposing elements or aspects requires some consideration of the transition, the inbetween. Van Eyck extends these twin-phenomena to more than simply spatial relationships but also social constructs such as unity-diversity, individual-collective etc, allowing this notion of 'the in-between' to exist within any complimentary or opposing relationship in any field. Herman Hertzberger's comment on the threshold here is a useful summation of both the nature of the in-between as well as its relevance. 'The threshold provides the key to the transition and connection between areas of divergent territorial claims and, as a place in its own right, it constitutes, essentially, the special condition for the meeting and dialogue between areas of different orders.'21 While architecture, by its very nature, contains many of these complimentary and opposing relationships and these should be dealt with accordingly, of significance to this project is the geographic and programmatic threshold between the land and the sea, which characterises the whole project. While this relationship of two different elements is hard to reconcile as one of Van Eyck's twin phenomena, the marine base in its entirety will be a threshold between the land and the sea and so will need to be a humane transition and dialogue between the two elements.
VOLUNTEER SERVICE The physical geography and the programme of the project as a marine 21
Hertzberger. H, Lessons for Students in Architecture, (Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010 Publishers, 1991),32
base are but one catalyst for the development of the project. The other major consideration is that of Marine Rescue NSW as a volunteer organisation. This is significant on two fronts. Firstly how the new base can provide for the volunteers themselves and support them in their motivations in volunteer work, and secondly, how the base can be involved in developing a public interface by which the marine base can communicate to the public. A briefing report from the Smith Family and a report regarding volunteer bush firefighting in Australia22 show the main reasons that people are involved in volunteer services relate to a number of different areas. These include a desire to serve
development and a genuine interest in the service being provided. According to Clary, Ridge and Snyder23 satisfying the needs and goals of the volunteers will contribute to an atmosphere that promotes satisfaction in their work and the retention of volunteers for the organisation, and thus addressing the needs and goals of the volunteers is a major consideration for the organisation and the base should provide an environment that fosters socialisation between members, enables the efficient functioning of the service and encourages productive training and education. Martin Heidegger in his work 'Building, Thinking, Dwelling24' makes a distinction between buildings and dwellings. According to Heidegger much of our world is filled with buildings that do not facilitate the human nature of dwelling. 22
Zappala. G, How many people volunteer in Australia do why do they do it?' The Smith Family Research and Advocacy Briefing Paper, No. 4 (2000); McLennan. J, Birch. A, Brief Report: Age and Motivation to Volunteer with CFA, Bushfire CRC Volunteerism Project, La Trobe University (2008) Esmond J, Developing the Volunteer Motivation Inventory to Asses the Underlying Motivational Drivers of Volunteers in Western Australia, CLAN WA Inc (2004), 54-55 Heidegger. M, 'Building, Thinking, Dwelling' in Leach. N (ed), Rethinking Architecture: a reader in cultural theory (London: Routledge, 1997), 100-109
Dwelling in this instance does not refer to the residential experience but rather dwelling is our existence in this world, in whatever task that is being done, that responds to the earth beneath our feet, the atmosphere that surrounds us, the spiritual realm of our world and the very nature of our humanity and mortality. For Heidegger dwellings, that is buildings that allow for man to dwell, gather together this fourfold, and enhance man's connection to the fourfold, that is to let man dwell within. Heidegger provides an example of a farmhouse that provides for every nuance of life, of dwelling of its inhabitants. The house is built around how its inhabitants dwell rather than prescribing how to dwell. For the marine base, where the volunteers are under no contractual, practical or familial obligation to stay, to provide an environment, a place, where dwelling, or being, is natural and inherent is certainly to the benefit of the organisation. The base should be built around the dwelling of marine rescue service rather than dictating their way of service. Of consideration here also is Suzuki and Maeda'25s analysis of water space structure and its effect on the psychological response of the volunteers. With water-space being an architectural material and inherent in the landscape, then manipulation of the water-space within the architecture becomes another tool for the supporting and motivating of the volunteers. On a more philosophical note, there is a transition that exists within the service of the marine base involving movement from the land to water. According to Rene ten Bos26' analysis of Peter Sloterdijk's writing, humanity is not monoelemental, that is solely connected to the earth as generally assumed within anthropology but rather that man is amphibious, being able to move between the
Suzuki, 'Images of Water and the Design of Water Spaces' ten Bos. R, 'Towards an amphibious anthropology: water and Peter Sloterdijk', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 27 (2009):73-86
elements of water, earth and air and also having a longing to change elements and seek out new environments. While the marine base appears to relate to this process quite literally as a geographical and programmatic change from land to water and back, Sloterdijk is dealing with the inherent elemental changes that occur within the human mind, which are more akin with the pull of the sea on humanity that results in the more literal boating experience and it is that mental change that the marine base needs to be able to facilitate. ten Bos describes Sloterdijk's view of life within the element of water as 'a medial way of being,'27 that is living life as 'submerged' within the world, to be colloquial, going with the flow, as opposed to living relative to the objects of the worlds. This can be related to the experience of going to sea, and putting oneself at the mercy of the elements and giving over control to the physical environment around. Even with the most advanced technology and skills, there is always an element of risk and unknown in the marine life, and it is this transference from the solid dependable land existence to giving over to the unknown that characterises the volunteer work that is done on the base, both the people that they serve in the boating community as well as the on water service they provide. In response, the marine base needs to be able to facilitate this mental shift from land based living to marine service and serve as a connection for the inhabitants to both elemental mind states. In a sense the base needs to be amphibious.
PUBLIC INTERACTION Sargeant and Lee in 'Improving public trust in the voluntary sector: An empirical analysis28' describes a desire by the consumer public to gain adequate 27 28
Ibid, 77 Sargeant. A, Lee. S, 'Improving public trust in the voluntary sector: An empirical analysis;'
feedback in return for their support, that is being provided with better knowledge of the actual work that is being done by charities (or as relevant here, volunteer organisations) in order to have greater faith and trust in the work that they do. Not only does this develop greater loyalty from existing supporters but incorporates an advertising component. In the case of the marine base a public interface can relate to more than simply the architectural theory but can have a commercial aspect in supporting the relationship that the Marine Rescue organisation has with its local community who support them either privately or as tax payers and can create a greater dialogue that may result in greater support, by way of financial assistance or more volunteers. ten Bos29, in analysing Sloterdijk's consideration of humans as amphibious creatures, discusses our innate desire to isolate ourselves into our own anthropological islands, such as families, companies, organisations. Islands, by their very nature are surrounded by water and by it, are excluded and protected from other islands and land masses. Historically heroes are those that bravely bridge those waters, taking to the sea in exploration, or the modern day equivalent, the entrepreneurs, braving the new frontiers of invention are the ones that yield results. To this end the marine base should cast out into different waters that seek to bridge the gap between the organisation and the public in order to increase the likelihood of their own sustainability and longevity. This need for public interface needs to be considered against the operational needs of the base that have connotations in the way of safety and security which adds complexity to a threshold of another sort being the public-private threshold. This becomes more
International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, Vol 7, No.1, pg 68-83 ten Bos, 79-85
relevant in acknowledging the proposed masterplan30 for the site, which allocates the site and its surroundings as public recreation areas, therefore increasing the likelihood of significant public presence in the area surrounding the base. This increases the need for consideration of the interaction that occurs between the base and its context. In response to this need the project has expanded from simply providing the marine base for Marine Rescue NSW, but also developing the neighbouring site into the larger scope Bank Street Boat Park.. Teyssot, in his article 'Mapping the Threshold; A Theory of Design and Interface31,' makes very clear that a role of the edges, boundaries, thresholds of architecture is to communicate and mediate between the areas being separated. In this instance to communicate and mediate between public recreational space and the internal activities and values of the Marine Rescue service with express intention of keeping the public informed and inspired by the service of the volunteers, as well as providing an urban parkland, well able to serve the needs of the community and take advantage of the harbour site, increasing the public's interaction with the harbour.
URBAN PARK With the extension of the project to include the provision of an urban recreational boating park, consideration must be made to the urban/landscape design theory and how that can be informative to the design of this urban park. The earlier theory in relation to edge, threshold and transition is just as relevant here for the urban park as for the Marine Base itself. Moreover the inclusion of the urban park within the project as whole allows for a more synthesised relationship
Maunsell Australia Pty Ltd, Bank Street Pyrmont Masterplan (2006) accessed 12 March 2010 <http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/docs/mpd/bankst-pyrmont.pdf> Teyssot.G, 'Mapping the Threshold: A Theory of Design and Interface,' AA Files, vol.57 (2008): 10
between the public and the base, with the intention of the urban park being designed to increase the public experience and understanding of the volunteer service as well as capitalise on the unique site opportunities of connecting urban residents to the water and affording multiple and varied relationships with the water for the public.
In order to provide a starting point for the basis of
urban/landscape design we will consider the elements outlined by Jane Amidon in 'Radical Landscapes32'
These elements for consideration cover urban
interaction, natural interaction, site story, order and object, planes, and 'light, colour, texture'. While this text chiefly looks at landscapes deemed to be 'radical,' that is the pursuit of
innovative exploration rather than simply tradition, the
elements outlined are of basic consideration in any urban/landscape design (or any other design for that matter) wherever the intention of the designer fits on the tradition-radical scale.
URBAN INTERACTION Amidon33 describes green infrastructure as being fundamental in fulfilling various social, functional and ecological roles within an urban context, so much so that she states that it underpins urban revitalisation. This is interesting in reference to the site being located within the Pyrmont area which has been experiencing significant rejuvenation and gentrification during the 1990's and 2000's34 and the provision of facilities including green space is considered fundamental to attracting the desired residential population. The Banks Street Boat Park will need to respond to it's residential and commercial environment in providing a 32 33 34
Amidon, J, 'Radical Landscapes' (Thames & Hudson: London, 2001) Ibid, 134-135 Bounds, M and Morris A, 'Second Wave Gentrification in inner-city Sydney', Cities, vol 23, No. 2 (2006), 104.
landscape that can be experienced and utilised by residents and workers alike. Amidon35 also identifies the importance of green spaces within an urban context being connected and part of a greater whole. For the Bank Street Boat Park, with the
Promenade36, this connection to the harbourside green spaces is already guaranteed. What needs to be developed further is the connection to other nonharbourside green spaces. With the Bank Street site being significantly urban, the nature and history of the site relates to its urban context significantly and thus the response of the Bank Street Boat Park, address the story and history of the site as part of it's response to the urban context, . Every site, structure, landscape has it's own multi layered story, both physical and cultural and this has to be responded to when creating a place 37
. This can be by revealing, interpreting or translating the existing story or add
adding new layer, a new story, or a combination of both. Either way, the existing story must play a role in informing the design of the new landscape and for the Bank Street site, a rich story exists, involving the harbour location and pre-European environment, the industrial use history, the present residential use and the current and future recreational boating activities. The urban context of the Bank Street Boat Park, as well as the incorporation of a recreational boat storage facility and Marine Rescue Base, means that the relationship between architecture and landscape is key. It is considered by some that landscape design is not necessarily separate from architecture, as Gregotti38 35 36
Amidon, 135 SGS Economics & Planning, 'A City for Walking and Cycling:Supporting Information,'' Final Consultancy Draft for Sustainable Sydney 2030, City of Sydney Strategic Plan. (City of Sydney Council: Sydney, 2008), 161-162 Amidon, 156-157 Gregotti, in Nesbitt, 341
states we shouldn't think of 'the environment as in imprisoned element and think of it instead as material for architecture.' On the flip side of this is the understanding of architecture being part of the landscape, with landscape not simply being green but also urban/constructed.39 What is clear here is that the identity of both architecture and landscape are intertwined. Certainly the intention for the Bank Street Boat Park is for the Marine Base and Boat park to be part of the same design strategy and landscape. How this strategy plays out in the relationship between architecture and landscape, or more correctly built form and nature within a singular landscape, become individual for each project. Motloch40 outlines the design principles to be addressed in this relationship as balance, unity/contrast, focus, scale, rhythm and simplicity and engage the tools of point, line, colour, texture and form with which these principles can be achieved. Motloch also identifies the edge between the built form and the natural landscape, both physical and visual as significant in defining the relationship between the two entities in relation to the Bank Street Boat Park, where the 'edge' between water and land is key, is even more pertinent.
NATURAL INTERACTION Landscape design needs significant consideration to the changes that occur within the natural environment: seasons, weather, growth and even human change.
Landscape design is not simply about designing in space, but also
designing in time.41 What has to be decided is the response that the created landscape will be to these natural changes. Whether the landscape will be
39 40 41
Angelil. M, Klingmann. A, â€œHybrid Morphologies, â€? Diadalos, no 73(1999), 73 Motloch, 227-233 Amidon, 81
created and then left to nature's course, or will continually be managed over it's lifespan, or somewhere between. Within the context of the Bank Street site, some of these natural processes become even more significant due to the physical location alongside a harbour, with consideration being required around issues such as flooding, tides, stormwater run-off etc more so than might be experienced by other sites. In considering the notion of designing in time, Motloch42 identifies this as referring not only in terms of the natural cycle that is evident within any landscape but also an awareness of the occupants progression through the landscape and the what they perceive as they pass through the landscape.
ORDER AND OBJECTS No matter how radical or traditional a project expects to be some notion of order, of understanding with regard to the placement of objects within a landscape is required. As Ching states â€œorder without diversity can result in monotony: diversity without order can produce chaos.43â€? This recognition in no way limits the creative expression available with the basic tools of order: symmetry, hierarchy, seriality and patterning, being able to be simplified and abstracted to whatever extent is desired. Motloch44 also details to role that geometry, visual arts and circulation can have in creating order within a landscape. Amidon45 also discusses the need for recognition of the tension that exists between the placing of objects within a space and the creation of space 42 43 44 45
Motloch, J. Introduction to Landscape Design, (Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1991), 119 Ching, F, Architecture: Form, Space & Order (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979), 332 Motloch, 126-150 Amidon, 56
between two objects. Both of these are valid ideas, and aren't necessarily opposites, but the implications of each need to be weighed up against the desired outcomes. This becomes particularly relevant in relation to the site, with the urban park essential being inserted between the ground and the bridge, contrasted against the idea of the park as 'open' space. When considering the idea of objects within the landscape it is worth commenting on the role of public art in such a setting. Hill 46 identifies the two key themes that art in landscape addresses: that the art can have a changed aesthetic value in a landscape setting, and the potential for inspiration of the landscape, the landscape as a medium. This becomes particularly relevant to the Bank Street Boat Park in view of Gehl's 47 recommendations for Sydney's CBD including public art as an important factor in creating public places. Hill clarifies that while traditionally art in landscape has been blended with the landscape or used for providing a point of focus, more contemporary work aims to 'surprise, stimulate, provoke and excite,' for the landscape to enhance the artwork and the artwork enhance the landscape. With consideration of the inclusion of public art within the urban boat park, where the art sits within the landscape should be as considered and be part of the broader landscape strategy.
PLANE MANIPULATION The design and manipulation of the ground plane is fundamental to landscape design, and it is important to acknowledge the purpose to which this manipulation occurs, and that is to create (or add to) a 'place,' which, according
Hill P, Contemporary History of Garden Design, (Birkhauser: Basel, 2002); 191 Gehl. J, Public Spaces, Public Life Sydney (Gehl Architects: Copehagen, 2007), 31, 76, 102-103
to Norberg-Schultz48 is 'a space that has distinct character.' It is imperative, therefore, that the manipulation of the ground, occur with the intention of creating a space of character, with this character dependent on the designers intentions for the space. For example,
Amidon states that the scale of manipulation needs
to relate to the context, which makes sense, but then prescribes that for large scale manipulation a larger context is required49, without reference to the desired character of the space. Rather the intended character, or intended perception by the occupants, should determine the scale of ground manipulation as well as the other contributors towards spatial development, that enable the perception and response to space by the occupant. Motloch50 outlines the main ideas of spatial perception as enclosure, edge, sightlines, the relationship between space and mass and base and overhead planes. While typically the ground plane deals with the issue of the base plane, there is potential for the ground plane to be manipulated in order to interact with all of the aspects of spatial perception, depending on the character intentions.
LIGHT, COLOUR, TEXTURE These three variables are identified as Amidon as vital in defining form and shape as well as being transitional qualities that respond to natural changes especially time51. Each are highly controllable yet always retain a natural independence that can never be wholly removed and thus in all considerations of these three variables, an understanding of their changeability and development 48
49 50 51
Norberg-Schultz, C. Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture, (Rizzoli: New York, 1980) cited in Motloch, J. Introduction to Landscape Design, (Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1991), p53 Amidon, 41 Motloch, 177-187 Amidon, 12
over time is necessary. Light comes about by two means, natural sunlight and artificial light, both of which can be utilised to provide not simply functional lighting necessary for safety but also control the illumination and revelation of the various objects within the landscape. Motloch identifies the diurnal nature of lighting in landscape design, such that a single landscape has the potential to transform from a space of one mood, character and scale to another with the changing of the day52. This diurnal nature highlights that light is more than simply illumination but also incorporates shadow and reflection as design tools53. Colour is identified by Amidon54 as being a tool of communicating information whether is be cultural or biological, not only in the selection of individual colours but also the relationship between colours as well as the other variables of light and texture. Our perception of colour is a property of light55, and so it is important to recognise that any choices in relation to colour correspond with the strategies employed with light within the landscape. Colour selection conveys the emotional character of the space56 and colour strategies such as contrast, focus, tonality are just as relevant and considered in plant choice as with the colours decisions for objects within the landscape. Texture can be considered in reference to tactility of objects and landscape as well as topography57 and Amidon identifies that perception of these textures is vital to their place within a landscape and scale is inherent in defining the level of perception occurs with the viewer, whether the textural qualities and changes are 52 53 54 55 56 57
Motloch, 123 Amidon, 13 Ibid Motloch, 192 Booth. N, Basic Elements of Landscape Architectural Design, (Elsevier: New York, 1983), 99-101 Amidon, 13
subtle or overt. As with colour and light, it is the relationship between changes in texture grade (fine, medium or coarse) that is perceived by the occupant58 that will assist in communicating the design intent. All three of theses interrelated variables are integral to the mood and character of the space and need to be considered and worked in order to develop the spatial experiences that will convey the design intent.
It is clear from these various points of consideration it that the intentions of the landscape need to be identified, with those intentions being the functional, experiential and contextual outcomes of the desired landscape, as stated by Arnold Webble59 'no landscape value until it has a purpose.' Consideration of the urban and natural contexts, physical, cultural and historical, as well as the function of the Bank Street Boat Park as a recreational boating hub, will be fundamental in determining these intentions. Alongside the contextual considerations is the celebration of the edge, the threshold and the transition, and how these are experienced by the public within the landscape.
Consideration of all these
elements of landscape architecture and how they interact and relate to each other in communicating a new experience of the water and the water's edge will be fundamental in designing an urban recreational boating park that can considered successful architecture.
Bank Street Boat Park is a unique opportunity to house the newly formed community organisation of Marine Rescue NSW, while also providing the public with recreational boat storage facilities and an urban parkland that encourages 58 59
Motloch, 194-195 Filor, S, The Process of Landscape Design, (B.T. Batsford: London, 1991), 7
and engages the public with the water that they live alongside, acting as a mediator or threshold between various opposing considerations. For the Marine Rescue Base, the most obvious of these is the physical transition between the two elements of earth and water, where land dwellers are able to physically transfer to an on water marine service, or engage with, and to cater for the programmatic implications that are entailed. Moreover, this transition is more than simply physical, but needs to cater the mental transition of those serving not only to maintain the bases architectural integrity as a true place of dwelling, but also a means of support and encouragement to the volunteers. For the public mediation occurs between the residents and workers of the area as they interact and engage with the water in new ways and as they witness the work of the volunteers within the marine base in order that they might support and encourage them in their service. The intentions for Bank Street Boat Park is to be able to facilitate all these transitions, for the park to be a threshold, a multi-layered zone that is an embodiment of differences60.
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Published on Sep 22, 2010