Daniel Inocente

Daniel Inocente

New York, NY, US


Top Ryde Civic Center

A city is an interplay of spatial and programmatic multiplicities irreducible to any one single component but together defining what a city is or can be. The vision for the City of Ryde Civic Centre is one of functional, natural and topological synthesis. Bringing together natural space, civic functions, and the public sphere was a major part of our proposal. The programmatic components included a unique assembly of administrative, residential, commercial, exhibition, event, and public open spaces which all shared a direct relationship with the integration of natural systems.

Our design proposal begins with a direct response to the density, scale, and connectivity to the surrounding neighborhood. The site is situated on a major thoroughfare, Devlin St, between the thriving West Ryde district and the largest commercial center in town. This tension between low and high, neighborhood and commercial, prompted a design strategy which would blend the two contrasting sides of the city. The west part of the site behaves like an ecosystem, a park and a resting zone for the residents while the east part of the site rises to meet the commercial development, an active and hybrid zone.

By choosing to hybridize many of the components which make up a city on a single site, the new Ryde Civic Centre would have to collapse both use and urban natural space. Blending the programmatic functions, including event, performance, retail and open space meant folding a new layer over this assemblage. A geometrical strategy is driven by multiple parameters, including resource efficacy, and ecological integration. The idea of topological continuity was key and further enhanced by analyzing the climate and environmental impacts which in turn informed our massing strategies. The sites topographical character, sloping north to south, led us to integrate a series of ponds that would collect, store and guide rainwater along primary, secondary and reuse system. Collecting grey water and reusing it to maintain the growth of vegetation throughout the park and façade became imperative to the overall vision.

The north facades topological approach maintains a tangential relationship with the ground to reinforce the natural flow of biological systems from ground to the building facade. The decision to use a felt living wall system provided a solution which reduced the carbon footprint compared to other pre-assembled living wall systems. By allowing the facades natural growth to take place on site, facilitated by an irrigation system, the façade would emerge as a dynamic response to climate weather and the interaction between a selection of plant species. The intention of increasing the density of plants and trees on our site included actuating a microclimate through evapotranspiration, optimizing the energy balance and comfort level for residents. A higher insulation value provided by the living wall system meant that most living units within the building could be placed along the north facing façade with views of the wetland park and quiet neighborhood.

Last but not least, our design would provide the city of Ryde with a unique approach to synthesizing natural systems, an iconic relationship to nature and resources, and a direct response to density of use within its urban fabric. The city is made up of life and all elements should be treated as irreducible as we continue to discover the connectivity of all systems. The new Ryde Civic Centre maintains this approach and derives an iconic language from it, for all its residents to experience.

Read more

Status: Competition Entry
Location: Sydney, AU
My Role: Designer