Architecture & Social Agency
How do we design for opposites?
Observing the complex web of lives which exist within a community is crucial when considering the role of architecture within society. In Kings Cross, this web of complex interactions is defined by life's juxtapositions - transience verses permanence, rich verses poor, the introvert verses the extrovert. Architecture is the perfect link to connect these figures.
Assuming the cliché that 'opposites attract' can be applied to an architectural response, it is interesting to explore how a building is able to provide a series of harmonious spaces through balancing the patterns of the surrounding physical context with the contrasting personalities of the people who inhabit it. This is found in the ‘Scarpa-esque’ architectural detail which adorns many of the once low cost art-deco apartments of Kings Cross, Rushcutters Bay and Elizabeth Bay. While clearly part of a recognisable era of design, these well crafted details individualise buildings so that they become an intrinsic and necessary part of the streetscape, as well as being moulded to the people who inhabit them.
At St. Canice, the Soup Kitchen, Church and associated community, services such as Alcoholics Anonymous are all so crucial to the sites placement within the broader context. Yet its economic deficit means that its future is uncertain, and thus it is not resilient.
In developing an architectural response to this, my aim has been to reinterpret and improve the current functions of St. Canice so that it becomes more sturdy in the future. I have taken cues from 1930’s post war architecture which adorns the surrounding streets, in order to bring the site into a contemporary setting where people from all walks of life are able to coincide successfully and, hopefully, free of hierarchy.
St. Canice will be a place for all people to live or visit; work or play; engage or escape.