2015 Inception Award | Lisa Cohen


The renaissance of a terrain vague
(Ignasi de Sola-Morales)

My proposal for the redevelopment of White Bay Power Station falls in light of the Bay s precinct proposal led by UrbanGrowth NSW. The brief encouraged a dynamic social and civic space that would become a main attraction for both locals and tourists.

Demiurge brings to life a creative centre for White Bay Power Station, inspired by the existing and driven by a creative force. Recognising the uniquely colourful and driven community in the area, the centre will evolve to become a place to immerse in culture and develop skills within a relaxed and inspiring forum.

An assessment of the surrounding demographic reveals that the Bay s precinct is populated largely by young professionals, with an average age of 35 and a low unemployment rate. The local community is imbued with creativity, with a multitude of privately owned studios, classes and events all within the creative forum characterising the area.

An analysis of the essence of creativity revealed the potential for a creative centre to have fundamental benefits in enriching the daily lives of the community. As outlined by Stuckey and Nobel in a paper titled The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health , engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one s own creative efforts, can enhance one s moods, emotions, and other psychological states This suggests that involvement with creative arts has direct health benefits and can improve quality of life through a variety of different facets. Further analysis presents evidence that engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression (Stuckey L. H, Nobel J, 2010). A study conducted by Lynne Casey titled Stress and Wellbeing in Australia suggests that 47% of Australians rated issues in the workplace as a source of stress in 2013, and that statistic was consistent with previous studies. As White Bay is largely occupied by young professionals, a creative centre proves even more appropriate grounded in it s ability to reduce this statistic.

The centre provides an open forum which beautifully compliments the surrounding suburbs by providing opportunities to experiment and engage in creative arts without the pressure of payment or commitment that is embedded within the current social forum that surrounds White Bay. Considering the intent for the space to encompass an attraction for both tourists and locals, research drew me towards popular experiential green spaces in Sydney such as the Royal Botanic Gardens with annual visitation figures in the millions. According to the HumanSpaces report titled The Global Impact of Biophilic Design in the Workplace , Biophilia (first popularised by Edward O.Wilson in 1984), describes the innate relationship between humans and nature, and concerns the need we have to be continually connected to nature. The report suggests that biophilic design… has a strong, measurable impact on key employee outcomes such as well-being, productivity, creativity and reports levels of creativity to be 15% higher in biophilic environments compared to those devoid of nature. As of such, an understanding of the psychology behind creativity has led me to introduce elements of biophilia allowing for a heightened experience of vitality in artistry.

The attempt has been to create architecture imbued with an experience of creativity and innovation whilst maintaining a delicate and complimentary relationship with the existing interior. The design facilitates creative expression through the composition of spaces where heritage is celebrated through the aesthetic and temporal qualities of each interior. New material expressions enhance current relationships and allow the existing to be appreciated in a new light, while forms respect and develop existing narratives within the space.