2015 Inception Award | Lucy Williams

Earth- en Oceanic

White Bay Power Station

Earth- en Oceanic adaptively reuses White Bay Power Station in Rozelle as an interactive Earth and Ocean Observatory and tracking facility as part of the revival of Sydney’s industrial Harbour. The proposal can be viewed as partly liberated from the heritage parameters of the existing site. This occurs through the architectural approach of large scale excavations in sections beneath the existing site, including at the site of the demolished Boiler House 2. Excavation is the most signi cant device adapted within the scheme in order to connect the architecture to the earth and draw upon its purpose as an observatory. Ample ltering of light and water into the regions below ground level via the roof structure, waterfall features and open voids allows for introductions of landscape features including tree plantations, in order to create an atmosphere of serenity and mystery. This separates the visitors from the cityscape and transports them into a tranquil retreat posing similarities to a rainforest. Live camera footage and visitor controlled tracking systems exploring the depths of oceans throughout the world and some of the most untouched earth Australia and the world has to offer allows for non- threatening and educational viewing and monitoring of remote environments and earth processes. Streaming of satellite imagery and earth tracking from space through projections, in addition to dive tanks with marine life promotes interaction. Discoveries and imagery collected from the onsite observatories, in addition to data from satellites, the Great Barrier Reef and the ora and fauna will be assessed onsite by the public and professionals.

I have proposed a new entrance which faces Sydney Harbour where the visitors to the site are guided up from the harbour in a proposed new landscaped region which provides direct views to the water and city, and an approach to the site at ground level. On approach to the site visitors are greeted by a grand scale new build with a multipurpose pool of water which ows on top and forms a continual waterfall cycle down the edges and throughout the excavation region below. Visitors are guided across the top of the new build and body of water via a minimalist, reinforced glass bridge recessed within the water where the transparency allows for views down into the excavation. The waterfall is visible in sections from the interior, including as a feature running down the walls. It also forms a majority of the roof structure to lter light and interesting shadows down into the excavation spaces below.

The centre would be visited repetitively due to the cyclical nature of species tracking throughout changing seasons in Australia and different earth processes occurring daily which are tracked live from the facility. The extensive range of café and restaurant spaces, as well as interactive exhibits ensures the space serves the interests of the Sydney public. Scientists and visitors at the proposed research facility would have services and research tools available including global and regional models of the atmosphere, ocean and land surface monitoring systems, coastal domain simulations, process models, water quality and temperature monitoring and endangered species tracking. The scheme explores variations in acoustic, thermal and lighting exposures throughout the existing site, but particularly in the excavated zones.

Considerations for the environmental impacts of the original White Bay Power Station and the physical reminders of its use were the conceptual underpinnings for this project. I considered the formation of ‘Noctilucent clouds’ as a major component of my research. These ironically beautiful clouds, like splendid illuminated landscapes of the evening sky, remind us of humanity’s interactions and impacts upon oceans and earth. They glisten above the water and leave mystical trails and evidence for observers, a constant battle between beauty and harm. The cause of these clouds forming high above the earth is a combination of meteor smoke, where water molecules gather the dust of meteors creating ice crystals; in combination with the significant increases in carbon dioxide and methane in our atmosphere.