top Looking north-west towards the Hay Street monorail station at Chinatown. above Looking south along Quay Street from the new square at Hay Street.
Looking north-east along Quay Street, with the Entertainment Centre behind the monorail.
Detail of the footpath edge, with one of the 41 bronze word-plates.
In response to a rapidly expanding population of workers, tourists and residents
around Sydney’s southern CBD, the Darling Harbour Authority engaged McConnel
Smith & Johnson to upgrade a section of Quay Street, Haymarket, which was
recently closed to traffic at its north end, where it is crossed by new rail tracks.
This part of Quay Street links Central Railway, Broadway and the University of
Technology, Sydney, to the south, with Chinatown, the Entertainment Centre,
Darling Harbour, Paddy’s Market and the Capitol Theatre to the north.
In MSJ’s plan (which is being followed by other improvements to nearby precincts),
the footpath on the west side of the street has been widened to accommodate a
new line of trees. At the north end, a café dining pavilion (yet to be used because of
tenancy delays) has been installed in the square which blocks the street to traffic.
This shelter is shaded by a canopy of blackbutt trellis; supported on its east side by
a black steel and timber-clad wall. Fifteen randomly canted green poles support the
roof’s west side while appearing to be leaning against it.
At the other end of the street, near the historic brick tower outside the UTS Library,
a bluestone wedge erupts from the footpath to mark the beginning of a line of
stone, bronze plates and green fibre optic lighting inlaid along the pavement. Each
of the 41 bronze plates is marked with a two-to-six letter word chosen by the
architects to express different concepts of life from a variety of cultures.
(To avoid offence, the word ‘sex’ was amended to ‘eros’.)
Architect’s Statement by Mark Willett
In an urban sense, this is about myth-making for a multi-cultural society-and an
idea about creative energy. Beyond the utilitarian need for paving, lighting and
shade, the design draws upon the street’s location and context at the junction of
four diverse precincts. It seeks to provide a source of delight and to create a
distinct sense of place appropriate to the diverse cultural setting. The words refer
to religious and philosophical concepts from eastern and western cultures; they
illustrate the universal nature of the human spirit.
Comment by Kerry and Lindsay Clare
From a distance, the Quay Street gateway pavilion is almost imperceptible-it is a
fine ‘Scandinavian’ wafer of roof. As you move down the street from the University
of Technology Library towards Paddy’s Markets and Chinatown, small rhythmic
details are revealed within the footpath-words, lights, textures, patterns-which
slowly build up a spirit (or presence) of which you become progressively aware.
Who chose the words? What is the key to their sequence? How many cultures are
Even a casual observer can gain something from the experience. The paving erupts
at the top end of the street, lime green lights glow from the pavement and a
collection of matching green poles lean casually against the pavilion’s hovering
roof, allowing interpretation as a remnant of forest.
The roof bridges the space between the university, the markets and Darling
Harbour in more ways than one. Physically, it provides shelter to half the space it
occupies, and dappled shade to the other. However, the pavilion does not impose
any singular cultural value: it instead presents an almost universal modernist
aesthetic. Importantly, it does this with confidence, elegance and wit.
Kerry and Lindsay Clare are architects from the Sunshine Coast now contracted as
design directors of the Buildings Branch, NSW Public Works & Services.
Quay Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Architects McConnel Smith & Johnson-design
director Mark Willett, project architect Nick
Sissons, architect Lance White, landscape design
Roxanna Vlack. Client Darling Harbour Authority.
Civil, Structural and Traffic Engineers Ove Arup &
Partners. Lighting and Electrical Engineers Barry
Webb & Associates. Lighting Fabrication
Opalescent Signs, Light Moves Technologies,
Digilin, Ozone. Quantity Surveyors Davis Langton
& Beattie. Project Managers Farrell Projects.
Builders Grosvenor Constructions.