WHAT IS THE GENERATOR?
The Generator is a non-conforming tender by Sydney Arts Zone Limited to create a precinct for arts and innovation in and around the White Bay Power Station.
The Generator is a centre for spatial exploration, production and display of technologies and media ecologies through artistic expression.
The Generator will be innovation manifest, a necessary place for contact and interaction between innovators, and local and global communities.
The Generator will be an opportunity to be ‘in’ the innovation, to be part of ongoing change and to witness history and to tell its stories.
It is envisaged that The Generator would take the form of a village, approximately 3 Ha adjacent to the White Bay Power Station, space within the old Switch House building and access to the Turbine Hall and Public Spaces around the Power Station.
The Generator is a place at the heart of The Bays, adjacent to and partly inside the White Bay Power Station. It is a zone comprising ongoing exploration of the arts, media and technology through production, performance and display.
The Generator is founded on the idea that technological innovation is accelerated when complemented by art. Also, that art is advanced through technologies and the ability to perform and display at a civic scale, in one place.
The Generator is, itself, an ongoing experiment in architectural design and place making, making visible the myriad technological revolutions now occurring.
The Generator asserts that Sydney’s trajectory as an innovative Global City will be more assured if there is a place, accessible to all, where innovation can be witnessed.
The Generator is an essential early component in the DNA of The Bays if its transformation is to signify and to generate innovation.
The Generator is an ever-changing immersive environment that optimises social interaction, attracting and holding innovative people in supportive and exciting ways.
A PRECINCT TO GENERATE INNOVATION & CREATIVITY
Innovation is more than just technology. Innovation can occur in any human endeavor. The heart of innovation is creativity. And every human being is creative. The Generator is for everyone.
The Generator is the first precinct in the world that is designed to stimulate and accelerate the process of creativity and innovation. It is designed to lift everyone who visits it to a higher plane of thinking, and to facilitate the type of collisions, interactions, relationships and knowledge spillovers that generate creative insights and innovations.
Moreover, The Generator is designed to adapt to the ever-changing unknown future. It is agile. It constantly kills off and renews its own spaces. It evolves like an organism.
There is no other precinct in the world that can do this.
THE WORLD’S FIRST FUN PALACE
The Generator will kick-off with the most innovative architectural concept in modern history, the most radical building ever conceived: Cedric Price’s Fun Palace.
The Fun Palace is not a conventional ‘building’ at all, but rather a kind of scaffold or framework, enclosing a socially interactive machine – ‘virtual architecture’ merging art and technolog – that learns, anticipates and adapts to projected needs. – Stanley Mathews, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research Volume 3 Number 2
The Fun Palace is designed to be continuously evolving. There will be no permanent structures. Nothing is to last more than ten years, some things not even ten days: no concrete stadia, stained and cracking, no legacy of noble contemporary architecture, quickly dating.
The ‘areas’ are not segregated enclosures. The whole plan is open, but on many levels. So the greatest pleasure of traditional parks is preserved – the pleasure of strolling casually, looking at one or other of these areas or (if this is preferred) settling down to several hours of workplay.
The structures themselves will be capable of changes, renewal and destruction. If any activity defeats its purpose it will be changed. The elimination of the word ‘success’ is important. The place is a constantly changing experiment.
To facilitate this a giant skeletal framework is created:
- Like a Meccano set or garden trellis, within and around which the activities might grow and develop. Enclosures such as theatres, cinemas, restaurants, workshops, rally areas, can be assembled, moved, re-arranged and scrapped continuously.
- A pattern of interlocking squares of different sizes — a ‘tartan grid’ — provides both stability and programmatic flexibility. Stairs, elevators, electrical cables, and mechanical ducts are located in the towers, leaving the wide bays free of obstructions.
- Overhead gantry cranes travel the entire length of the structure to move modular elements into place.
- Pivoting escalators and moving walkways provide internal circulation.
- A membrane roof suspended from a cable grid covers most of the central space, with operable ‘skyblinds’ over the central ‘rally area’. Between the roof and the ground level foot bays, floors, walls, and modules can be lifted into place by the overhead cranes. Users can improvise and change their own spaces, using the cranes to assemble prefabricated walls, platforms, floors, stairs, and ceiling modules. The internal structures and elements consist of modular units which can be positioned and relocated anywhere within the overall structure.
- Virtually every part of the structure is to be variable, with the overall structural frame being the fixed element.
- With digital fabrication and 3D printing, the spaces can be endlessly varied in size, shape and form.
THE GENERATOR AS A PLACE
The Generator, manifesting innovation as a ‘place’, serves powerful purposes:
1. Creates the environment for social interaction between innovators;
2. Innovative Spatial Artists are the natural authors of The Generator as an environment for social interaction;
3. By being authored from within the expanding sub-culture of innovators The Generator creates necessary’buy-in’ from that community;
4. Creates an evolving ‘brand’ for Sydney, which will earn and maintain traction with local and global communities. It evidences and broadcasts ongoing innovation initiatives;
5. Has the potential to overcome connectivity barriers through sheer force of its meaning and its challenging aesthetic presence. Uniquely, Spatial Arts and Spatial Design can make innovation visible;
6. Has an innate aptitude for staging, commencing with light, cheap start-up ideas and consolidating through time as The Bays develops and evolves;
7. Creates a venue for myriad emerging visual and spatial art forms that require large spaces for fabrication, performance and expression, including and public spaces;
8. Engages Sydney’s spatial artists, such as architects, who are practiced in the fusion between science, technology, engineering, maths and the arts and are already part of frontier media and technology ecologies;
9. Forces a metro-Sydney perspective. Economic activity is the main measure of global city rankings, yet we should remember that Sydney’s CBD, while its brand dominates a global share of mind, only accounts for 23% of the economy of Greater Sydney. The Bays project must be compelling enough to engage the entire population of metropolitan Sydney;
10. The Generator, as the cultural paradigm presented by The Bays, will be the window through which most people can relate to the place.
COMPONENTS OF THE GENERATOR
The Generator Comprises:
- A 3 Hectare village, developed over time, which accommodates production studios, workshops, exhibition spaces, accommodation, cafes & bars forming a network of lane-ways and public spaces. Each block of the village will accommodate facilities specialised around particular art forms and technologies;
- Space within the Switch House of the White Bay Power Station for the display of large-scale multi-disciplinary arts and creative installations;
- Access to the Turbine Hall within the Power Station for the staging of art events and installations;
- Access to public open space between The Generator and the Power Station for the staging of events and the display of largescale works.
STAGE 1 OF THE GENERATOR
Stage 1 comprises two blocks of the village and creation of spaces within the Switch House:
- Block 1 contains a large central production ‘shed’. It is equipped with lifting gantries, moveable platforms and mechanical and electrical services designed to accommodate rolling programs of experimentation;
- The shed is surrounded by a variety of ‘ideator modules’ designed and built by sponsors and patrons to showcase their particular art and technology agendas, with different types of multi-level access to the shed behind;
- Block 2 contains art-driven bars, cafes and performance spaces and forms The Generators first prototypical laneway;
- The contiguous and inter-connected spaces of the Switch House provide opportunities to weave narratives across science, art, technology and history, and across time and space, leading the visitor from past to present to future and back again. The emphasis of the Switch House will be on display rather than production.
Staging of The Generator will allow uninterrupted access for Sydney Ports along the Balmain Foreshore to the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
It is envisaged that land adjacent to Stage 1 of The Generator will be needed for car parking and public transport drop-off until improvements are made to transport infrastructure for The Bays;
Separate to access via lands within The Bays, Robert Street will serve an important function as a front door to the Power Station Precinct, including The Generator.
FUTURE INTEGRATION WITH ROZELLE
It is anticipated that The Generator will act as a catalyst for sympathetic venues and services on private land adjacent in Rozelle. The Generator will have its streets and laneways structured to connect naturally with the movement patterns of Rozelle.
CONNECTED PUBLIC SPACES
Carefully scaled public squares and crossroads will tie the various functions of The Generator together and provide exciting, as well as restful, places for visitors and participants to mix and to dwell.
THE STREETS AND SQUARES
The public pedestrian pathways and squares that interconnect The Generator are the social incubator spaces so vital for sustained innovation. These spaces, as places, are the most important drivers of The Bays and are the core purpose of The Generator.
Innovative business models will put curated cultural activation in catalytic co-location with commercially driven activation. Programmed activation will be partly designed to foster self-sustaining activation.
‘Although creativity is often viewed as an individual phenomenon, it is an inescapably social process’ Richard Florida
‘Creativity flourishes best in a unique kind of social environment: one that is stable enough to allow for continuity of effort, yet diverse and broad-minded enough to nourish creativity in all its subversive forms.’ Richard Florida
THE TURBINE HALL
Sydney Arts Zone Limited anticipates that the Turbine Hall and perhaps the Boiler House will become public places as part of the greater rehabilitation of the White Bay Power Station. The Generator will become an active user of these spaces for installations,
festivals and events. These large spaces are perfect for the presentation of emerging art forms that happen at a civic scale such as Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Weather Project’.
Such creative practitioners include English artist Nina Canell, who interrogates the elemental force of electrical currents and other invisible physical energies; Australian scientist and artist Joyce