Our proposal begins with the visitor experience - What do visitors bring to the site, what insight do they gain and what do they take away? We see Immigration place as primarily a site of exchange; recalling histories, celebrating cultures and facilitating storytelling, allowing people of different generations and varied backgrounds to connect.
In our proposal this thinking is translated into a series of sensory triggers. The place is literally “seeded” with opportunities for exchange. At the center of the site is a beautiful lush circular garden incorporating both native and exotic, edible and ornamental meadow plantings with fruiting trees.
Each of the individual species has been selected to provide associations of colour, texture, taste and scent and whilst some have specific cultural meanings most are common across multiple cultures and geographic locations. In addition thistles and other plants commonly considered “weeds” are also included, celebrating the simplicity of the ordinary or unkempt alongside of the ornamental for a truly inclusive garden that questions our associations and prejudices, echoing the ways in which our understanding of immigration has shifted over time.
In addition to these landscape elements, the circular concrete structure that rings the site is an inclusive formal gesture. There is no right or wrong way to enter the site and the varied arched openings purposely have no hierarchy. A large bronze platform is at once a table, seat, stage and display surface and can be used for meals, presentations, and events or as a stage for performances. Small speakers are included within the arches and will be programmed to perform a musical interpretation of the 5000-registrant names, audible when passing through the arch. The speakers can also be utilized for performances and key events at other times.
As a place of exchange we have imagined the site in different modes – as a destination for visiting school groups, as a lunchtime respite for local workers, for ceremonial activities and during both local and city wide festivals and events. Within each of these conditions the space has the possibility of being self reflective but also outward looking with activities held at the site having the potential to extend Immigration Place both physically and symbolically beyond its site boundary. We imagine markets or dinners taking over the carpark space, seeds or seedlings harvested by school groups and used as a springboard for discussion and edible flowers picked for on-site cooking classes or used for seasonal dinners. We see new immigrants adding new species and textures to the mix, further enlivening the space.
Architectural Team: Amelia Holliday, Isabelle Toland, Sean Akahane-Bryen
Landscape Architect: Emily Simpson
Artist: Jamie North
Structural Engineer: Event Engineering
Sound Artsist / Composer: Bree Van Reyk
Community and Events Consultant: The Field Institute with A&D Projects
Culinary Consultant: Myffy Rigby
History Consultant: UNSW School of History