The Culinary Co-operative
Location 96-100 Hunter Street Newcastle
“If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life”
- Frank Lloyd Wright
The inarguably iconic and supremely significant former Newcastle Post Office sits vacant in a state of drastic and increasing decay. The city’s heritage Jewel, once symbolic of progress and prosperity faces a dire and disrespectful fate. Its real value overshadowed as petty squabbles debating its capital gains and market “worth” allow cracks to form in its sandstone skin.
However, the heart of Newcastle is in the midst of a renaissance. People are returning to the inner city, the new light-rail is currently being reinstalled where its old tracks once lay, the former heavy-rail truncated and new businesses sprout readily over the city’s densifying core. It is crucially important to harness this momentum and progressive energy to save the Post Office while the city is in a period of growth.
The repair and addition to this iconic building will re-establish it as a vital gathering place in the city. The Culinary Co-operative seeks to adaptively reuse and symbolically re-crown the historic building, reinstating its significance. Through the implementation of various food-centered interactions, it is to be returned to the public, providing a place of gathering reminiscent of in its social past. The project is motivated and to be serviced by the established locally grown produce in the Hunter Valley. This also functions to enable a gentle reconnection between the urban context and the region’s rural, arable counterparts. In doing so it offers an alternative to the rapid consumption of convenience driven options, seeking to increase awareness of consumption, its impacts as well as instilling a sense of localism.