Wellington Street/Sparks Street block has a chronological range of buildings,
some of which are of great historic significance and architectural character
and others less so. The scheme uses a selective approach to leaving those
buildings of civic merit, evacuating some so that their shell remains and
the core function changes and demolishing others.
The project has two major architectural components, the first is that substantial areas should be landscaped, both synthetically and naturally to create and urban park that threads its way through and between the structures that sit on the ground and the second is a light canopy that sails over the whole site providing a powerful unifying symbol.
We felt strongly that to re-vitalise any area you must consider mixed development so that a varying community have reason to be there throughout the 24 hour period. An urban park, large exhibition hall and gallery exist at the lowest level (along side the remaining existing functions both commercial and retail), with cultural facilities such as theatres, cinemas and a multi-use conference centre comprising the middle band of the development, with residential units at the upper levels, commanding spectacular views across the city. Throughout all the development retail and commercial space exists at all levels.
The complex is conceived as an inter-linked series of spaces, some where the pedestrian can enjoy natural vegetation, a waterside walk and even skate all year round on the indoor rink. The spaces have both a horizontal and vertical presence to enable the scale of the existing buildings to be clearly maintained. The Wellington building and the Langevin building have been evacuated, the existing skin is maintained but the Wellington now contains an exhibition hall with thea tres/conference venues above, whilst the Langevin now hosts a cinema complex.
All levels are connected by ramps, escalators and lifts providing a fluid and seamless line of movement through what is conceived as a spatial theatre.