North Sydney is a suburb within the city of Sydney, Australia. It is a commercial, business, and residential suburb that is across the harbour from the major CBD. In 1978 the Warringah expressway was completed as a crucial car link between the Sydney CBD, North Sydney, and the upper North Shore. Today it is seen as the main factor in physically tearing the fabric of North Sydney. The expressway cuts North Sydney, separating the business and commercial areas from the residents by 6 lanes of traffic, a dangerous and congested environment that is bridged only by narrow and inconvenient paths. The physical split between residencies and commercial buildings also negatively impacts the social interactions and lifestyle within North Sydney. Rising Grounds is an Urban Park that is proposed to unite the two sides and stretch up the expressway to create multiple entry points. Rising Grounds aims to bridge the connection and reinvigorate the lifestyle that was lost. The parks design achieves this by breaking down the edges and providing a safer, cleaner, and a more enjoyable passage that has resonating ideas of sustainability, day and nightlife activities, and the natural world.
Rising Grounds is an immersive experience in a man-made natural landscape. The park is designed to make you ascend onto the elevated pathways that weave in-between the activity spaces. This separation of levels allows adjacent activity spaces to be linked with each other and the existing streetscape on either side. In this way, the parks breaks down the boundaries and draws the existing environment into becoming part of the park. The Centre for Nature is located centrally and acts as a beacon for the sustainable design systems scattered throughout the site. As you move through the space the park appears to rise around you with planters arranged in an ascending terrace form and filled with an organic growth of Australian trees and plant life. A variety of spaces are located throughout the site ranging from sports facilities to educational centres, all aimed at rebirthing the social lifestyle of North Sydney.
RisiRising Grounds is shown through sections, renders, diagrams, and axonometric’s to depict the gateways, entries, activities, and key technical concepts listed below.
MATERIALITY: The site uses a rustic embossed concrete form as its main materiality. This is because of the weathering and aging of concrete, which gives the sense of a wild natural feeling that the park aims to achieve. concrete also feels like a very slow and static material that is very robust when contrasted with the lightness of nature. There is also a contrast with the timber decking elements that are symbolic of boardwalks that are used for dynamic spaces to emphasise the feeling of movement.
EDGES: It is important that the site does not cause an abrupt end or bridge type solution as this will create a barrier and further distinguish both sides of the expressway. The park in large areas extends the level of the existing into the park and enhances the sidewalk opportunity, thus blurring the edge of what is existing and what is new. In between these spaces the park has paths that allow a fast transition up into the park to move you through the site. Both access points are necessary and provide a balance of enjoying and moving through the park.
ACTIVITIES: The versatility of space is shown through the diverse range of activities that are happening on the site. Through the sheer volume of the space, any one of these designated areas could be manipulated for use of a different kind, sports facilities into concert space, business plaza into a formal party event. This helps reinvigorate the lifestyle of the suburb and allow for multiuse and overlapping spaces.
THE GRID: The grid concept is used to give some control to the project, but also shows clearly the elements that begin to break the grid, usually happening around areas involving landscaping. With water elements, the grid starts to disappear and recede as the water becomes more dominant, whilst where there is landscaping the concrete planters begin to ascend and fall over the sides of the levels.