Sydney’s Garden Island has become the focus of a colossal new development concept that would see it transformed into a bustling hub of culture, leisure and community.
A report on the future of the Navy was submitted to the government by Reserve Captain Peter Collins, where he called for greater cruise ship access to Sydney's Garden Island. This report sparked an idea to remake the iconic harbour landmark, so international architecture studio LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) was commissioned to devise a concept that could see a new cruise terminal opened.
LAVA developed an idea that would see Garden Island, which was previously inaccessible to the public, transformed into a dazzling new entertainment and community district that aims to bring $15 billion back into the economy. The new development will include an international cruise terminal, residential spaces, floating markets, harbour baths, theatre and event precincts, boat shows, harbour pool, high-tech park, museums, galleries and much more.
The plan incorporates a three-stage process to be developed across 30 years. The first stage will see the construction of an international cruise terminal that will accommodate the steadily growing industry and hinder large operators from moving their ships to interstate or Asian ports. The second stage will see portions of the Navy relocated to Botany Bay, with apartments and hotels set to take its place. These will be sustainable, green buildings, surrounded by gardens brimming with lush plantlife and colour worthy of the name Garden Island. The third and final stage will be the development of a stunning new garden precinct to tie the island to the harbour and surrounding city.
The Garden Island development project would also see the fulfilment of a centuries-old urban plan by Australia’s first government architect, Francis Greenway. In 1825 he proposed the vision of a pyramid structure scheme on Garden Island; “A pyramid upon a particular base…the whole front of the island toward the harbour could have been contrived so as to have formed part of the base of the pyramid with steps leading up to it in various directions”.
The plans for Garden Island would have historical significance and be a nod to the architect whose most famous works include Windsor’s St Matthews church, St James church in Sydney and Hyde Park Barracks.
The main focus of the development is the creation of an area that is sustainable and environmentally friendly, in addition to being a hub for communal recreation and leisure.
"The new buildings make a departure from the traditional vertical apartment box model into a green and sustainable airy tower landscape, with roof terraces, balconies, swimming pools and community facilities,” explains Chris Bosse, the director of LAVA.
The company won the 2016 European Architecture Prize and is known for their ambitious and environmentally mindful projects. “It is an opportunity to relocate the Navy and create a new city precinct on the waterfront, something like the Tate Modern in London,” Bosse adds.