The former industrial and defence site at Neutral Bay on Sydney Harbour has been opened to the community for the first time in over 150 years as a new cultural, recreational and commercial hub.
Now known as Sub Base Platypus and managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the site was the home to Australia’s six Oberon Class submarines between 1967—1999, the RAN’s torpedo maintenance facility 1942—1997 and the the North Shore Gas Works 1876—1932. After a period of extensive site remediation and completion of Stage 1 capital works the site is now open for public use. New works include a new park, wharf, playground, barbecues, submariners memorial and a new harbourside walkway that links the Submarine Wharf to Kesterton Park and the North Sydney Ferry Wharf to the south.
A stair at the northern entry establishes a new point of access for local residents, allowing access to the foreshore and public transport. Stage 2 will see refurbishment and redevelopment of the industrial architecture and allow for new activities on the site.
Urban&Public developed the branding, signage and wayfinding in an integrated approach that respects the site history, harbour location and the industrial remnants and structures on the site. The wayfinding signage has been designed to complement the industrial harbourside architecture, gas works and submarine related activities on the wharfs, using galvanised steel and suitably appropriate simplified details, form and typographic approach. The signs use a peg board system that will easily allow for future changes and new tenancies on the site as the site is reworked and opened up in different stages over the next few years.
Client // Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Team // Urban&Public, ASPECT Studios, Lahznimmo Architects, Iguana Creative
Year // 2018
Urban&Public was engaged by Prahran Markets to prepare an integrated branding, place identity and wayfinding signage strategy that could create a distinct and cohesive signage system for the market and establishes a legible and meaningful experience for users, celebrating the unique cultural and historical character of the site.
The work involves the review and upgrading of existing identity, statutory signage, wayfinding and interpretive elements within the three internal arcades, courtyards and lanes within the precinct.
The project also integrates placemaking improvements to Market Square and the outward identity and connections of the market to the local neighbourhood and Chapel Street retail precinct.
BOX HILL UNDERPASS REFURBISHMENT
The Station Street Underpass project called for a refurbishment of the existing pedestrian underpass. With a tight budget, creative and cost effective design solutions were called for. In collaboration with Electrolight, the concept seeks to funnel the sky underground, inverting the subterranean experience of the underpass.
Through the use of colour, material selection, light and graphics, an artificial sky was created. The resulting treatments included community text messages incorporated into illuminated clouds, super graphic stencils on walls and a reflective wall treatment at entrances. The refurbishments have effectively improved passive surveillance, increased the light levels to meet standards and transformed the experience from the mundane into a visually engaging and enjoyable one.
Client // City of Whitehorse
Year // 2005—2008
BRANDING AND SIGNAGE STRATEGY
‘Action Stations’ is an experiential pavilion at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour — designed by FJMT Architects. The pavilion has interactive museum exhibits and an immersive cinema to provide visitors with a better understanding of both the history of the vessels and also life at sea — the dangers, the hard work and the long hours.
Urban&Public was engaged by the ANMM to create a brand and identity system and wayfinding system for Actions Stations — this branding informed all brand application, wayfinding systems, room, vessel and exhibit signage, exhibition design, vessel signage and environmental graphics. An engaging logotype was developed with a secondary brand system inspired by the heritage for the three vessels HMAS Vampire; HMAS Onslow and HMAS Advance. The design gave each vessel an individuality that reflected the differences in the boat name, times of service and inherent characters. This brand framework established the pavilion as the ‘Home Base’ for three important historic vessels from Australia’s Naval Fleet under the one. The branding, colour system, and design elements were inspired by the many layers of signage, markings and information systems found on the vessels. This branding and identity is now also used extensively within the museum’s merchandising collection. As a team we worked with a diverse internal client group that included curatorial, heritage, marketing, project management and architectural teams.
The museum’s brief was to provide visitors with a unique and contemporary museum experience. This was achieved with a design system using a rich visual palette that included historical photographs, interpretive elements, illustrations, extracts from books and diaries, and supergraphic displays communicating compelling stories and images of life and conflicts on the high seas. As all the museum spaces are generally outdoor and exposed to the weather all designed and fabricated elements are hard wearing and long lasting in the saltwater environment.
WINNER —2016 Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Award (MAPDA) Action Stations website
WINNER SILVER — 2016 International Design and Communications Awards (IDCA) Best Scenography for a Permanent Exhibition
Highly Commended — 2016 Museums and Galleries National Award (MAGNA) Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fit Out
Related submarine project:
HMAS Platypus Submariners' Memorial
Client // Australian National Maritime Museum
With // Christie Hunt & Andrew Ashton
Year // 2015
Urban&Public in collaboration with Adelaide Hills Wine Region have made wine exploration and discovery easier for the general public by guiding them to cellar doors that are virtually hidden in the hills.
A digital cartographic audit provided the basis for 3D terrain mapping and a cross-browser web application.
The map combines several GIS data sources, digital elevation models and hand-drawn topographic contour mapping to demarcate the boundaries of various wine regions and display a soil analysis layer for wine makers.
To visit the website
As part of ASPECT Studio’s ongoing work with the restoration and reopening of the former HMAS Platypus site in Neutral Bay on Sydney Harbour, Urban&Public were invited to design a subtle yet integrated marker and memorial to the submariners and six Oberon class vessels that were based there.
The new Submariners’ Memorial at HMAS Platypus on Neutral Bay was officially dedicated at a moving remembrance ceremony on Friday 18 August 2017 marking the 50th anniversary of the site's commissioning in 1967.
Special guests at the ceremony included the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne; Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett AO CSC RAN, Mr Kevin McCann AM, Chairman of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust; Commodore Mark Sander RAN (retired), President of the Submarine Institute of Australia.
The memorial commemorates the service and seamen of the six Australian Oberon Class Submarines that were based on the site from 1967 to 1999. The idea for the memorial was conceived by Submarines Association Australia and the Submarine Institute of Australia — designed by Urban&Public team for the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the custodians of the site.
The centerpiece of the project is the restored submarine anchor from HMAS Oxley, the first of the six Oberon-class subs to be based at the site from 1967. When the Oxley was decommissioned, her anchor was retained for this future purpose, and has now been installed on a circular precast concrete base in a quiet reflective area of the site. Affixed to the memorial are three new plaques recognising the years of operation of HMAS Platypus and the three sailors lost whilst serving on Oberon submarines. 'Silent Service', the motto of the Submarine Squadron is fixed to the wall beneath the memorial. An official wreath laying ceremony was included on the day with the Minister, family members and other dignitaries paying respects.
“We took advantage of the nearby existing concrete steps, sandblasting the names of all six submarines into the risers,” explains Urban&Public’s Simeon King. “So the names Oxley, Otway, Ovens, Onslow, Orion and Otama are now permanently etched into the site in a fittingly industrial way.”
Although the memorial is a solemn reminder of three lives lost, it also signifies the imminent rebirth of the HMAS Platypus site. Sydney Harbour Federation Trust commissioned the memorial as part of its long term transformation of the site from a gas works, torpedo factory and naval base to a contemporary waterfront urban park. The memorial unveiling is a significant project milestone and signals the start of the building and public space renewal works, after seven years of site remediation and community consultation.
When HMAS Platypus was decommissioned in 1999, the submarine base and workshop were relocated to HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, along with the bronze ‘Platypus’ on a granite rock, that had been the site mascot since the base first opened in 1967. It is a hope that the platypus will return home in the not too distant future.
Memorial, Plaques, Interpretation and Event Booklet: Urban&Public
Head Contractor: Fleetwood Urban
Precast Concrete: 2barrows
Plaques: Architectural Signs
Sandblasting: Quick Blast Mobile Sandblasting
Anchor Restoration: Thales Australia
Photographs: Guy Wilkinson
Related submarine project:
Action Stations, ANMM
Client // Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Submarines Association Australia, Submarine Institute of Australia
Year // 2017
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE
One of the key strategies of the Green City Plan is to raise community awareness of the benefits of greening by undertaking community engagement with the aim of demonstrating the value of trees, challenges with planting trees in the city and fostering a connection to city trees. Urban&Public was engaged to create graphic resources to promote the Green City Plan Objectives and Strategies.
Our team provided all design services and implementation for the North Terrace Tree Trail project. A tree walking and discovery route for the community with a focus on children of all ages and families to explore the city, discovering the benefits of trees in a city environment and disseminating key information in an engaging and fun way.
The team undertook the following tasks:
– North Terrace Tree Trail branding identity
– Map for North Terrace Tree Trail, with relevant educational information pitched at Junior School aged children.
– Tree Family Art (5 trees) that related to the Map.
– Public Space Art/ Design Intervention, stickers/ stencils etc that provided information on the value of trees. The design intervention collateral needed to be able to be replivcated a number of times on trees throughout the city
Client // Adelaide City Council
Year // 2017
Urban&Public was commissioned to undertake concept design, documentation and contract administration for the a new graphic gateway and shade structures for the Bowden Urban Village at Plant 4.
The temporary gateway installation has a five year life span and is located on a vacant lot that fronts Park Terrace and overlooks the Adelaide Parklands. A collection of signs marks the entry to the Plant 4 Bowden site, the former home of Clipsal. The signs come alive at night, and will become a changing canvas for the site.
The preferred concept references road sign typologies to create ‘wayfinding’ elements that can be utilised as an updatable gallery for artists and/or promotions. Graphics to the light boxes can be assembled in different ways to create a visual and dynamic entry to the Village both day and night.
U&P also developed concepts for the lasercut sunshade element over the playground and waterplay, using graphics found on the previous industrial site.
Client // Renewal SA
Years // 2015—2016
Hart’s Mill Surrounds is a revitalised and attractive public realm in Port Adelaide, located adjacent to the wharf with a backdrop of one of Adelaide’s most iconic heritage buildings.
While the overall design responds to the strict briefing parameters of use, budget and safety, the conceptual framework is drawn from a thorough understanding of the history of the place. The interpretive response to the milling process, the re-use of existing timbers, and the industrial aesthetic and bold colouring are reflections of the former use of the place and provide an outcome that is both unique and sensitive to the cultural significance of the place. Using simple and durable materials coupled with exquisitely detailed interpretive elements that weave a narrative of the sites history, the precinct is a living museum with an inbuilt flexibility allowing for transformation into a dynamic event space.
The project team considered the potential timeframe for further redevelopment (likely to be 20 years or more) and ensured that the works were durable and of lasting quality — an authentic response to the port environment.
Client // Renewal SA
Year // 2014
Angel Place one of the priority upgrade projects which form part of the City of Sydney’s Laneway Revitalisation Strategy, a scheme designed to reactivate a number of Sydney’s historically significant laneways.
Angel Place has been transformed into an uplifting public realm place which integrates public art and interpretation into the project design.
Particular emphasis was placed on revealing the Tank Stream, with a rhythmic combination of paving and steel inlays highlighting its location. The public art installation, Forgotten Songs in collaboration with Michael Hill, Dr Richard Major, Richard Wong and David Towey, was integrated within the public domain works, adding depth to the site’s historical interpretation and strengthening the visual cues from George Street that suggests an alternative passage is available, which to meander and find respite from the noisier adjacent streets.
The suspended cages are fixed with multiple sounds of birds that inhabited the site prior to urbanisation of the city. As visitors walk through the laneway the echoes of the bird songs resonates creating a charming and unexpected aural and visual experience.
Client // City of Sydney
Year // 2011
This public boardwalk in Pyrmont, Sydney, completed the foreshore upgrades to Jacksons Landing — a waterfront community over 10 years in the making. The new wharf strengthens the open space connections between the significant foreshore parks to the north and south, provides an opportunity to engage with the water, and a generous shared path along the waterfront.
Engagement with water was a key design principle. Open mesh provides a visual connection to the harbour beneath, whilst seating steps into the water generates a direct physical connection to the harbour. Together they create a richness of experience, allowing people to interact with the harbour in ways uncommon within the Sydney foreshore.
Site–specific interpretation reveals the sites prior use within a working harbour context. Routed text inlays, the reinstated yellow crane stop, signage and the crane rail are key reminders of this.
Client // Lend Lease
Year // 2013
BRANDING & WAYFINDING
Bunurong Memorial Park is the newest of Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust’s (SMCT’S) cemetery properties in Melbourne, Victoria, comprising a land area of approximately 100 hectares.
SMCT’S physical vision for the site was contemporary and distinctively Australian, beautifully landscaped, with an abundance of lakes and calming water features.
Working closely with BVN Architects, Urban&Public in collaboration with the ASPECT Studios landscape team, developed a comprehensive branding and signage strategy for the whole site.
The branding outcomes built on the existing SMCT language and vision and carried through to the signage approach, which was to create a complementary addition to the architecture and landscape treatments. This was achieved through a refreshed visual language, choice of colour, materials and finishes. The family of signs were developed to be durable and long lasting utilising a simple contemporary design to ensure their aesthetic longevity.
Client // Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust
Years // 2015—2016
The Meeting Place—part architectural sculpture, part social experiment—was a playful installation encouraging participation and interaction whilst heightening the experience of moving through the urban surrounds of Little Hunter Street Sydney.
The design concept created a space within the existing laneway form through the construction of two fabric walls, each four metres high. The material selected had an opacity which allow for obscured views through to the remaining unused parts of the laneways and to the existing building facades.
At night, the yellow fabric became a canvas for revealing the movement of people within the space. The curved form of the structure created a point of tension toward the centre of the laneway, forcing pedestrians to negotiate their way through the busy thoroughfare by acknowledging and communicating with others moving in the opposite direction.
This social aspect, often lacking in the Sydney CBD, of observing, acknowledging, communicating and negotiating with people increased positive human contact with a sense of play.
Client // City of Sydney
Year // 2009
Other ARTS ▲ projects:
Morgan Court Revitalisation
BOX HILL GARDENS ENVIRONMENTAL SIGNAGE
ASPECT Studios was commissioned by the City of Whitehorse to create an innovative space with a diverse array of recreation activities and events within the historic and well-loved Box Hill Gardens.
A key feature of the space is the recycling of the former tennis court club building. Part of the clubhouse was retained and reused as seating platforms overlooking the playing surfaces. A new toilet block sits behind the rebound-wall providing amenity to all park users.
The site functions as both community space and courts for multiple sport and recreation activities. The team designed a dynamic and engaging super graphic to define the play areas and create an iconic and playful destination for the growing community.
There is also a 1km long path for walking and running that travels around the gardens, with the start and finish lines syncing into the multi-purpose area.
Client // Whitehorse City Council
Year // 2013
The Principal Pedestrian Network Demonstration (PPND) project is designed to promote walking as the primary means of transport to key destinations within the city’s activity area.
Frankston City Council and ASPECT Studios, in consultation with the local community and traders, developed a new plan to promote walking between key destinations and enhance exploration of Frankston’s central laneways.
Gallery Lane host a sequence of lighting and art components designed by Urban&Public in collaboration with Tag Alexander that enhance community safety and aims to eliminate waste dumping and graffiti.
Park Lane and the pedestrian link received a full street upgrade that created a desirable place for pedestrians and local traders.
Scope: Concept Design, Design Development and Construction Documentation
Team: ASPECT Studios, GTA Consultants, WSP, FORM Structures
Client // Frankston City Council
Year // 2013
WALL & BANNER SUPERGRAPHICS
Urban&Public worked in collaboration with Moreland City Council in Victoria, to enhance a new plaza design for Morgan Court in the heart of Glenroy with a super graphic wall treatment. The plaza design delivered by en:locus was dominated by a large brick wall creating a visually dominant feature to the space.
U&P was given the challenge of minimising the visual impact, enhancing the existing design and creating a memorable experience for users of the space. The resulting design references the feature seating and the stripes associated with older style canvas awnings of the 1950–60’s. Albeit abstracted by size, the large colour bands replicate the topography of the site’s concrete seating, with their dynamic separation into strips suggesting movement and transition through the space.
Client // City of Moreland
Year // 2015