2015 BIA Graduation Exhibition: student profile – Thomas Muzikants

Posted on Nov 25, 2015 in Teaching
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The White Bay Power Station, a heritage listed former coal-fired power station is the site for the 2015 graduation project.

CUSA: Centre for Urban and Street Arts
My time during the Bachelor of Interior Architecture degree has been more challenging and rewarding than I could have imagined when I started four years ago off the back of my fine arts degree at COFA; gaining technical, presentation and professional skills I never thought I could have mastered, not to mention the friendships and connections that will last a lifetime. My proposed CUSA: Centre for Urban and street arts for the redevelopment of the White Bay PowerStation in Rozelle is the cumulation of years of study which have honed my design and artistic style.
CUSA: Centre for Urban and Street Arts is a multiuse arts precinct that celebrates the heritage of the listed White Bay PowerStation. The site modernises and adapts the 1920’s structures to house various arts related facilities such as public art and dance studios, gallery/ exhibition spaces, artist in residence accommodation, youth and well-being services and large outdoor recreation spaces which include an outdoor cinema and paintballing.

The CUSA proposal came about from the site visit to White Bay PowerStation, observing the experiencing the current state of the site first had; I was fascinated and drawn in by the wall graffiti and dilapidated state. Further research into the PowerStation revealed it is a popular site for urban explorers and youths intrigued by the urban decay; inspired by this I saw an opportunity for a programme that would appeal to and embrace young people interested in urban culture.

Upon arrival to White Bay PowerStation via Robert Street, visitors are led to the main entry located on the northern façade of the Turbine Hall. Bypassing reception and street food stalls, visitors are transported into the beating heart of CUSA; the art and dance studios with surrounding chill out spaces. The verticality of the freestanding black and orange steel structures and mezzanine levels within the cavernous existing building with new translucent roof are offset by vibrant coloured neon signage evoking a city scape and skyline.
The aesthetics of the CUSA proposal is inspired by the industrial nature of the site and inner city urban styling; through the insertion of new buildings within the existing, a small city is created with streets and laneways encouraging exploration.

To the left of the entry, a newly opened multi-storey opening leads to the four level gallery/ exhibition space located within the Boiler house. Movable display walls on tracks found of the ground floor create a flexible exhibition space for various art forms; above which, suspended within the existing column work, a multi floor structure clad in black chain-link features smaller, controlled art display spaces.

Artist in residence housing and individual studio spaces are located on the western end of the site, within the smaller, more human scaled structure of the Switch house overlooking market spaces of the transformer yard. Generous single and double accommodation housing pods are treated as individual houses on levelled streets; featuring: cosy, warm interiors, individual rooftop balconies and winter gardens flooded with natural light thanks to the newly translucent roofing.

The CUSA proposal is intended to be a sympathetic adaption of the history and usage of the site; it’s of utmost importance that the historical features are maintained and highlighted for the preservation of its character. Through the use of humble, industrial materials in new and inventive ways coupled with contemporary and forward thinking design CUSA aims to be the first international urban and street arts venue in the world. Through appealing to youth worldwide and encouraging creative expression, the embrace of the often overlooked art forms of street art will legitimatise and acknowledge the medium which add so much character and colour to Sydney’s streetscapes.

2015 BIA Graduation Exhibition – Imprint
Opening night Tuesday 24 November
Exhibition open to the public 25-27 November)

Website: https://imprint.be.unsw.edu.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imprintunsw2015?_rdr=p
Instagram: https://instagram.com/imprint_unsw2015/

Graduation Exhibition Committee 2015
Bachelor of Interior Architecture