The previously unused pagoda, at the northern end of Dixon Street Mall, was transformed in time for Chinese New Year celebrations earlier this year, and now features energy-efficient lighting, access for people living with mobility and hearing impairments, and a striking Chinese-inspired artwork.
The kiosk received an award in the Small Project Architecture category at the Australian Institute of Architects NSW awards ceremony in Sydney.
The jury noted that the project had successfully transformed a building with “little architectural merit” into a symbol of contemporary Chinese life in multicultural Australia that “comes into its own at night”.
“The architects, with the collaboration of the artist, have arrived at a sophisticated enclosure of some technical brilliance that embraces the tourist at the same time as it offers a more nuanced image of contemporary Chinese culture,” the jury added.
With patterned sliding curved glass screens and a vivid red lantern effect that comes to life as the sun goes down, the artwork was designed by Brisbane artist Pamela Mei-Leng See, and is based on a contemporary form of traditional Chinese paper-cutting techniques.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP congratulated the artist, architects, engineers, contractors and City staff responsible for bringing the pagoda back to life.
“By day, the kiosk serves as an important resource for locals and visitors alike, offering information and advice about everything Sydney has to offer,” the Lord Mayor said.
“By night, it lights up Dixon Street Mall with a warm red glow, providing the perfect backdrop for alfresco diners and late-night shoppers.
“This is one of the many ways we’re recognising Sydney’s rich Chinese history and the importance of Chinese culture to our city today.”
The pagoda refurbishment is part of the Chinatown Public Domain Plan, the City’s 10-year vision for the transformation of Chinatown, which has also seen the $5 million makeover of three laneways in the heart of Haymarket – Little Hay Street, Factory Street and Kimber Lane.
The next round of improvements in the area includes the development of a new public art space based around the idea of a ‘new century garden’ on Thomas Street, part of which is set to be closed to traffic.