Preliminary Research Office has revealed their entry to a competition to design the new civic center for the city of Ryde, Australia. The project uses a series of boxes at different scales to inform the organization of both the building and the public spaces. Following a competition of 175 entries from 49 countries, the project did not make the shortlist. However, its approach addresses the fundamental needs of a civic center to be dynamic, flexible and human-scale.
The competition called for an iconic project that would “encapsulate the urban identity of the area.” Located at the entrance to the municipality, the 16,500 square-meter site has a frontage of 260-meters along a six-lane road, and is located 12km west of Sydney, sitting on the crest of a ridgeline. The proposal was required to include civil and administrative offices, a public plaza/open space, commercial activities and housing.
The building is organized into two tall boxes, stacked atop three large, flat boxes, with four smaller boxes situated at ground level. Each box houses different civic and public programs, with the human-scale of each box creating a miniature “village” for citizens and visitors to explore.
The tall boxes house administrative and residential program, with more specific programs, like the Civic Council Chamber, Committee Meeting Rooms, Offices and Residential units stacked on top of each other. The space between these programmatic areas act as a "breathable double-skin," with vertical openings enhancing natural ventilation throughout the building.
The flatter boxes on the ground level orient themselves according to their relationship with the surrounding context. They serve as foyers and receptions for the taller boxes, as well as housing more public programs like performance spaces, community meeting rooms and commercial spaces. In between the boxes is a pedestrian circulation area, combining paths, green landscape and a public plaza.
Each box unfolds, its flaps connecting it with nearby boxes, acting as canopies to semi-outdoor spaces underneath, and extending the design metaphor to be “outside of the box”
See the four shortlisted entries here.
LocationRyde NSW, Australia
Design TeamYaohua Wang, Dingliang Yang, Sam Sun, Tianci Han, Yifan Wang
PhotographsPreliminary Research Office