Construction is set to begin on a new café adjoining the 1920s Museum railway station in central Sydney’s Hyde Park, designed by Andrew Burns Architects.
The café is the Surry Hills-based practice’s first local public project. It will replace an existing café located on the south-western corner of the park that was converted from a toilet block in 2001. The City of Sydney held a design competition for a replacement of the café in 2015.
Principal Andrew Burns said, “Our goal was to design a graceful, enduring and pleasurable respite for cafe users, and the people who use the park and the station, in a way that is consistent with the heritage Museum Station building.”
The state heritage-listed Museum Station, designed by the metropolitan railway’s chief engineer John Bradfield, was constructed in 1926 to the interwar Stripped Classical style. Bradfield was responsible for the design of the city circle underground stations and supervised the design and construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
In its assessment of significance, the NSW Department of Heritage and Environment notes that while the station and entry buildings have a high level of intactness, “some integrity has been lost to the Liverpool Street entry building through the addition of [the former] café building to its north side.”
Echoing the red brickwork and horizontal form of the train station, the design of the new café “refers directly to the existing building, observing critical alignments, material inversions and proportionality,” Burns said in a design statement.
In addition to the café, which will include seating for around 90 people, the project also includes works to the area around the station and its interface with Sydney Park. Among these will be a new lobby for the station’s lift, two new unisex toilets (one of which will be available for public use), the repaving of the area around the station, and the introduction of new accessible routes from Museum station to the Anzac War Memorial.
Burns said, “As an architect, I see landscape as almost interchangeable with the buildings we make, in terms of its ability to make our lives more comfortable, pleasurable and delightful. This is true in dense urban environments as much as it is in natural settings.”
Sydney lord mayor Clover Mayor said, “the stunning new design for the Hyde Park café, which remains sympathetic to the heritage setting of Hyde Park and Museum station. The work coincides with an upgrade of Museum Station and major improvements to the Anzac War Memorial pool of reflection and the paths around the park.”
Construction on a refurbishment of the Anzac Memorial at the heart of Hyde Park began in August 2016. Designed in collaboration between Johnson Pilton Walker and the NSW Government Architect, the update will introduce unfinished elements of the original design by architect Bruce Dellit that were dropped due to the onset of the Great Depression, including a second cascading water feature.
Collaborating with Andrew Burns Architects on the café are Camille Gaven, Casey Bryant, Jonathon Donnelly, Turf Design Environmental Partnership, SDA Structures, and Urbanite.