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Right Market tents, designed by Hassell, in the showring. Bottom The Hoyts cinema complex by Lend Lease Design with Gensler.

Tonkin Zulaikha Architects were responsible for four playful object buildings around the showring, including corporate pavilions for Fox and Sony. These structures gesture towards the parade ring, continuing the tradition of pavilions and stands around the ground; however, this is at the expense of the Bent Street side where the experience of the promenade is given less attention. An elliptical theme, no doubt from the oval itself, animates the roofs and forms of the buildings. Tonkin Zulaikha manipulate the structures with a self-referential game of forms and materials, creating variety from a minimal program.
Lend Lease Design were responsible for the conversion of the Frank Hurley Stand to film industry-related offices. While the deterioration of the original structure prohibited its retention, the curved rear facade and landmark clock tower have been kept and exposed concrete frame offices inserted. This building suffers from the late inclusion of an enclosed theatre on the showring side, originally intended to be an open-air amphitheatre with a fabric awning. Lend Lease Design (with Gensler from the USA) were responsible for the overtly historicist Hoyts Cinema Complex, with its bombastic entry tower. Clearly drawing on the language of 1930s Hollywood Art Deco and its subsequent replication in American movie theme parks, this is the only building in which imagery is the dominant generator of the architecture. Adjacent to it is the stage set entry to Fox Backlot, with a Deco fantasy incorporating a kangaroo with a director’s megaphone and an emu behind a film projector. We are here confronted with the difference in approach between American theme park image architecture and the alternative of balancing architectural integrity with retail entertainment theatrics.
The continuity of the RAS as an entertain-ment precinct open to the public is highly commendable; however, the absence of a function to occupy the central space leaves a hollow ring. Unfortunate also is the inability of the public to circle the entirety of Bent Street, as it is now compartmentalised into three separate precincts. These points aside, the historic character has been retained sufficiently to still imagine encountering livestock being herded along a street.
Philip Vivian has a Master of Architecture & Urban Design from Columbia and is an Associate Director of Bates Smart in Sydney. He is responsible for the adaptive reuse of Pier 8/9 at Walsh Bay



Published online: 1 Mar 2000


Architecture Australia, March 2000

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