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Sydney - Design Competition Entry

Barangaroo Pavilion

Accessible Storytelling: The innate confidence of Barangaroo ~ in her own self and in her culture ~ inspires the pavilion that honours her craft and reputation as the Eora peoples’ most iconic woman. Imbued with the power to communicate First Peoples’ holistic relationship to land and sea, the pavilion’s metaphors prompt discussion on our collective future from accessible, yet no less critical perspectives.

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Meeting of land and water: As the Opera House abstracted and celebrated the sail, Barangaroo’s pavilion recalls the organic shapes of Eora womens’ humble “nawi” bark canoes, that have come to rest on a raised dome evoking the land. By elevating the nawi into the sky, contemplation of the womens’ resource-sensitive and often intrepid fishing is prompted from above and below, while the platform of the pavilion becomes a liminal zone of ‘shadow play’ cast by the translucent canopy and ‘nawi skylights’ overhead. 

Barangaroo Pavilion SKETCH Don
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Conceptual diagrams generating an initial conceptual response

Barangaroo Pavilion competition entry by SOUNDSPACEDESIGN Architects Sydney honours Sydney's iconic first peoples' matriarchal fisherwoman Barangaroo in a structure evoking light rippling through the surface of the water.

Winter Midday Sun Window for the site

Barangaroo Pavilion Shadowplay

Shadow play of the "nawi" canoe skylights (Winter versus Summer)

Defiant:  Barangaroo’s ‘defiance’ was historically seen through a colonial lens. Contemporary readings clarify her assertiveness as appropriate to her matriarchal and provider roles within her Cameragal clan, amid the insensitive newcomers’ challenge to them. Her reported refusal to wear clothes at Governor Phillip’s table however, underscores a philosophical stance. It is within this spirit of noble defiance that the proposal delivers a spirited, exuberant architecture, challenging the bravura of the pavilion’s neighbours.

Crescendo: As a crescendo within the Wulugul Walk experience, the pavilion is a multivalent landmark inviting the widest possible public.  Metaphorically animated though its forms that recall waves and all manner of marine life, it proclaims songs of Eora - simultaneously recoding the misalignments of Sydney’s colonial history in a place of contemplation and delight. 


‘Naked’ yet adorned:  Barangaroo’s refusal to pander to foreign expectations inspires the pavilion’s aesthetic where nothing is hidden or polite.  Accordingly, only the rainwater launder pipes are ‘disguised’: these bold white stripes emulate Barangaroo’s clay paint markings which she claimed as her ‘official/spiritual’ dress and are visible from across Watermans Cove during the day. At night, the illuminated sea-grass inspired columns and canopy invoke the tea trees of Barangaroo’s north shore abode, in an altogether sustainable structure attuned to our times.


Specifically Sydney:  This is a pavilion for all seasons in Sydney. An economical and sustainable EFTE canopy hosts the nawi-shaped photovoltaic skylights which contain carefully angled blades to block direct summer sunlight whilst allowing its deep penetration onto the platform during winter. The resulting climatic control provides comfort with an evolving shadow play of the nawi, enabling poetic interpretation.


Take only what you need: Barangaroo’s pavilion is a representation of her culture and ideals. Her message resonates both formally - through metaphor - and technically through the sustainable approach to the building’s construction. Her stories offer timeless lessons and invite contemporary unpacking both personal and universal. Ultimately the pavilion is an unapologetic tribute to a woman worthy of iconic Australian status, whose credo of restrained self-sufficiency is of vital importance for all the world’s people in the age of the anthropocene. 

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Ground Plan eventing logistics and operations diagram

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Aerial night view

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Urban view indicating the permeability of the site and building as crescendo on Budugul Walk

Barangaroo Pavilion Competition Sydney A

View looking from Pavilion across Waterman's Cove

Barangaroo Pavilion Architects

Event view at twilight

Barangarro Pavilion Architects Sydney 2.

The up-lit stainless steel columns evokes the tea trees of Barangaroo's eastern coast domain

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