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Developed Design: Newtown Tramsheds

Posted by Jemima

29 Aug 2012 — No Comments

Posted in 2012, Student Blogs



This project revolves around a critique of Michel Foucault notion of the socially constructed human form and associated behaviours of consumption and commodity. The building serves as a research facility, Plastic surgery and IVF clinic for the UNSW’s faculity of Medicine’s, Surgical and Orthopaedic research division. With a focus on research and practise that encompasses the biology and biomechanics of connective tissues and strategies to improve clinical outcomes and bodily sovereignty through using biomaterials and biotechnology. Primary fields of research overlap with orthopaedics, plastic and vascular surgeries.

Railway lane clinic is located in the ruinous Newtown tram sheds in Newtown, Sydney and responds to a social climate of conflicting cultures, political status and socioeconomic class. The site has a strong link to the adjacent rail and this project proposes to maintain and capitalise on this existing infrastructure to service the building.

This developed design focuses on the public interface of the building- the Red Market. (the term red market is the colloquial term for the black-market trade of human organs)

Concealed behind the existing tram shed walls, the Red Markets constructs space that aggressively explores notions of the panopticon, constriction and release, and binary opposites.

The Redmarket is designed parallel to Walter Benjamin’s 19th century Parisian Arcades and plays on the associated notion of a store fronts acting as false façades and masking other program (it was widely known that the arcades paraded as millinery shops but truly acted as brothels) The Redmarket incorporates a variety of architectural folly’s and accommodates a variety of users that facilitate nearly 24 hour functioning within the building.’

These functions are:

The entry’s to the Plastic Surgery, Botox and IVF clinics, the arcade stalls, the Slaughter house, the tea room, two separate bars and the counterweight. The pre-mentioned notions of panopticon, visual constraint and release and binary opposites and existing site conditions  inform the materiality of theses spaces.

The main bar cantilevers over the void of the arcade and is situated right above the entry to the clinics. The bar punctures the mechanistic and dominating space with lush and tactile ornamentation. The bar is veiled with rope curtains that mask and constrain the space. The rope also symbiotically denotes a revealing as the curtain is manipulated by the user; peeking through the rope curtains into the void reveals to the clinic and arcade user that they are in fact, being watched.

Drawing on the urban memory of the demolished mortuary station on the site, the red market also houses a slaughterhouse. This function directly serves the research labs located under the Red market.

The pig in this project acts as both the commodified object and metaphor for human body, as well practical implementation and use in Avant guard medical research and the everyday object.This end of the red market focuses on the existing industrial and mechanistic materiality.The slaughter house is located next to the copper counterweights that are formatted in a way that suggest the alter of a church. They act as visual acknowledgment and offer a subjective conscience to the project with their movement signifying the delivery of the consumerable pig.

The counterweights connection though the delicate wires and pulleys puncturing the thick skinned existing walls, , herniates glimpses of the  internal architectural folly into public scrutiny.

The main stair that extends from the counterweight to the arcade and surgery below is veiled by a suspended mesh canopy. Passing under the cantilevered bar space, the mesh canopy conceals the user until very nearly, but not quite, the end of their decent to their desired destination.


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