Short films, yoga, a zine festival and food trucks will all be part of the Sydney Architecture Festival this year. And if they’re not activities you associate with architecture, consider this: The Goods Line, Sydney's version of New York's The High Line, is not a normal space.
In their first year as festival event directors, architects Claire McCaughan and Lucy Humphrey from Archrival, and urban planner John O’Callaghan, have created a program that celebrates architecture and design in Sydney, and shows off how Sydneysiders can look forward to interacting with The Goods Line.
The 10-day festival has been condensed into into four full days of events, activities and performances over the long weekend in October. “We really wanted to create a festival vibe,” says O’Callaghan. “We wanted to make it something the public could sink their teeth into.”
Each day of the festival is programmed around a theme, starting with a topic everyone is familiar with: the home. “It’s about creating good architecture that we live in,” says O’Callaghan. Housing Reinvented, just one of the events held on the first day, is a panel discussion featuring Senator Scott Ludlam. It will look at new forms of housing, from micro-housing to share-housing. “We’re really excited to bring in non-architects to talk about architecture and where we live,” says McCaughan.
On Saturday, the festival’s second day, the concept of public space will be examined. The Goods Line will host #TheGoods, a roster of events opening with a yoga class in the morning, and closing with a screening of short films. During the day there will be walking tours, drawing and photography classes, kids activities, and the Yellow Table Talkfest, a series of talks held around The Goods Line’s distinctive communal table. Food trucks, a book swap and a zine fair will also be happening.
Sunday is dedicated to the #NewCity. Looking at the way Sydney is changing, events include walking tours that will look at the regeneration of former working class suburbs close to the city like Chippendale and Redfern, and the new buildings changing not only the CBD’s skyline, but also its identity.
The fourth and final day of the festival, #GoGlobal, will consider Sydney’s place on the world stage. The Opera House will host the launch of World Architecture Day, where a series of speakers is set to address the state of architecture and design on a global level, and the role Australian individuals and practices are playing within it.
The program is guided by the idea that Sydney is on the cusp of a creative boom, driven by what O’Callaghan calls a movement of do-it-yourself urbanism. “People recognise that there might be something missing from their neighbourhood, and instead of waiting for council or a developer to provide it, they do it themselves. Local activism that benefits the whole city is really powerful, and it’s influencing top-end decisions,” he says.
“We want to reflect the creativity that’s happening at a grass-roots level, and the creativity that’s happening at the top.”
The Goods Line is a great example of this creative boom, says McCaughan. It is the first of a number of urban-renewal projects, including Barangaroo and George Street’s planned pedestrian zones, which will dramatically change public space in the CBD. “By introducing a festival to The Goods Line, we can hint at how the line can be used throughout the year, not just one day in October,” she says.
The Sydney Architecture Festival runs from October 2–5, 2015.