This project presents a framework for adaptive re-use developments in the post-industrial city of Newcastle and outlines an alternative method by which these ventures may be undertaken – a process where architects become agents of the community, taking on a number of roles, including that of developer, political advisor, site manager, fundraiser and performer to identify sites of potential and facilitate their inhabitation through collaboration.
“Muloobinba,’ a floating dock in Newcastle’s harbour, has been used as a prototype for these ideas. Viewed as a space-for-hire, this scheme presents eight possible phases in the future life of the dock, constructed from salvaged industrial by-products and disused machinery.
Phase one relocates the dock to the dilapidated Lee Wharf on the south side of the harbour, followed by the construction of a small site office and cafe to engage the community and open discussion. The future of the dock becomes uncertain after phase one and the final proposal presents a hypothetical narrative for the evolution of the design, encompassing a harbour pool, outdoor amphitheatre, boat building workshops, short-term accommodation, festival venue, and eventually; decay and permanent mooring.
The construction of the project celebrates the industrial technology that is integral to Newcastle's culture and sense of place. The initial intent to re purpose the floating dock is extended into the detailed design where each phase is constructed from salvaged industrial by-products and disused machinery. A technique of assemblage is adopted to create new elements that solve the programmatic and environmental issues of the project as each stage is proposed.