A Legacy of Sydney
In March 2012, the New South Wales government purchased Metro Transport Sydney, consequently announcing that the Monorail would be removed. In a contrasting move, Sydney’s light rail line will revert to public ownership with what the state government is calling a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to fix public transport in the CBD.
As previously demonstrated by the city’s once-extensive tram system and historical laneways, Sydney has built a reputation for the implementation and erasure of infrastructure. In this case there has been no interest by government bodies to develop this infrastructure or transform it into a new space for the city.
In a world where public expenditure is becoming more and more difficult to secure, the complete erasure of public infrastructure doesn’t seem like the smartest course of action. While the monorail’s elevated tracks are currently being removed, piece by piece, the shadow of the monorail will still be visible, revealed in the spaces where stations once stood and in the series of insertions that have been made into buildings, where the monorail once passed. The uniqueness of these spaces should not be overlooked in creating Sydney’s future above the ground.
Next stop… demolition.
Reconnecting the CBD
The monorail once served as a loop around the CBD, linking a series of disparate spaces from City Centre to Paddy’s Market to Darling Harbour. It operated as a connector in a city where a natural topographical landscape creates a series of almost disconnected villages. With the demolition underway, a series of stations, which once served as activators, drawing movement (albeit mostly tourists) through arcades, squares and other commercial spaces around the city are at risk of becoming dead spaces. What if rather than removing the stations they became new nodes in the city with an ability to extend and expand further beyond its boundaries?
The Galleries Victoria
As a case study, the Galleries Victoria is currently undergoing a surgical transformation with the removal of its station, almost as if it was never there. One must ask, what will happen to the commercial spaces around the station’s periphery? Who will take the time to explore this hidden internal network? How will people even know it is there with the deletion of its billboard— a station protruding over the footpath, beyond what is typically the buildings defined lot? As this “billboard” is deleted, the Galleries Victoria becomes absent in the city, its interior further isolated from the streetscape.