Architecture & Social Agency
How can the social importance of St.Canice be achieved by exploring and maximizing the potential on site?
The ultimate goal of architecture is to achieve the harmony in the future world, between a person and society. Located near to Sydney's red-light district in Kings Cross, St. Canice is a shelter to vulnerable people around the parish communities.
This scheme is trying to achieve social, cultural and economical resilience of the parish community by introducing the notion of 'diversity' in a way that fully explores the potential of the site. It is all about the way how people are going to use it and the activities that are going to happen.
On the basis of actual functions, a community center and community gallery is well crafted for encouraging shared activities and commemorating shared memories of the community, while the vertical garden and soup kitchen office preserves the original characters on site but in a more iconic and welcoming way, attracting new blood to become part of the parish community. The residential buildings are compact in order to produce less influence to the surrounding buildings.
A sunken plaza is designed to become the gathering space of the site, while the ground floor of the church is lifted up to to highlight the social importance of the church. Two spatial sequences are designed to the side of the church, producing a contrast between communication and meditation.
Other small considerations including brick ground pavement where the bricks come from the original residential buildings, a ramp step under the community center, a coffee corner, a special exhibition space and free beds provided for use by homeless people.
The intention is that the scheme will help St. Canice really achieve the goal of ‘social return’ in Kings Cross, wherein the Parish provides benefits to the life of all residents.