A major new public space designed to be “cool and green” will be developed at Sydney’s Central Station, under plans unveiled by the council.
First proposed by Danish architect Jan Gehl, as part of the 2007 Public Space, Public Life study, the new public space will be a critical component of the wider redevelopment of the area, under the state government’s Tech Central precinct plan, which aims to attract start-ups and tech-orientated firms.
The council has prepared early concept plans for the space, to be known as Central Square, in consultation with Spackman Mossop Michaels and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer. They envisage the spaces as one square made up of four distinct spaces.
“Central Square is envisaged as a collection of connected public spaces, with public plazas, tree-lined walkways and the transformation of Railway Square into a cool, green space,” Sydney mayor Clover Moore told media. “It’s an idea that will underpin Tech Central and give identity to the precinct as a whole.”
Overall, the hopes for the square are that it will be vibrant and active day and night, with a focus on youth activities and places for visitors, public transport users, the university population, workers and others surrounding the city. The design will also celebrating the unique heritage of the place, carefully balancing heritage intervention with broader benefit to the public.
Located to the west of the sandstone train station, the space will include a tree-line “Western Walk,” allowing for the safe passage of large numbers of people to nearby destinations; the Lower Square, which will be an active space 24 hours a day; the “quiet and passive” Upper Square; and the re-imagined Railway Square, which will be cool and green, “an urban setting under a copse of trees.”
A structuring principles report for the project is going before the City of Sydney’s Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee today, 14 September. The report to the committee notes that “a major new public place at Central is a critical part of the reenvisioning of this area of the city. High quality open space will help to attract and retain talent in the new precinct and support the younger demographic including university students.