A site of such importance requires considered design thinking.
Our architectural approach is significantly shaped by conversations with our Indigenous partner, Matthew Fellingham, and what caring for Country means to First Nation peoples.
These conversations, initiated as a first step in our process, revealed opportunities to intrinsically connect the architecture to the land through a design narrative that is rich in culture and heritage.
Our exploration of Indigenous pathways and geomorphological lines through the Parramatta region, and the subsequent colonial layering and urbanisation of the city led us to develop four key conceptual design principles; Travel Lines, the Urban Grid, Layering and Placemaking.
These key conceptual principles drive the design from both a physical - the built form and its adjacencies, and philosophical - the soul and emotive journey, and work together to form a deep connection and sense of place.
The sites significant location commands considered integration into the existing urban grid, established by the first European settlers.
This led to a ground-up approach and the creation of a through-link to physically connect the urban block bounded by Marsden, Macquarie and Church Streets - streets with names originating from religious and political history. Missing from this connection was the Indigenous story, and the celebration of the Indigenous culture unique to the Parramatta region, the Burramadigal people.
This resulted in the through-link being named Ngara Nura Way, which means, “listen to Country, learn from Country and to share knowledge”. To honour this philosophical idea and its origins, Indigenous storytelling has been integrated into the space to connect directly to the heart of Parramatta’s Indigenous history and culture, giving gravitas to the conceptual principle of placemaking.
The significance of Parramatta Square historically and geographically, the connection and meaning of the newly created Ngara Nura Way, and the travel lines established through the site drive the articulation of the built form above.