by Hassell as Architects - Wed, 21 March 2012
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The HASSELL team was one of five groups awarded the opportunity to transform several Sydney spaces as part of the 2011 STREET WORKS competition - an initiative of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) NSW. STREET WORKS invited entrants to re-imagine spaces in the City of Sydney as dynamic, innovative and sustainable temporary public places that will bring people together in unique ways. The HASSELL concept, called Walk the Line, is a path that connects all six of the STREET WORKS spaces. The path is a simple painted line that turns into a game in selected areas. Street corners become hop-scotch pitches, bat tennis courts and marbles fields, while stairs become waterfalls and road crossings arcade games - a unique transformation of the public realm. The temporary line links other STREET WORKS interventions and public transport nodes across the CBD, to tantalise the eye and lead both body and mind through the city, encouraging interaction with the surrounds and people in new and unusual ways. The concept responds to cultural changes over the past few decades. In the sixties, world famous writer and activist Jane Jacobs wrote a book about the death of our cities. By the seventies, the motor car had completely changed the way we lived in and designed our cities – the streets were no longer a place to live in and play, but to move through and fear. The eighties and nineties weren't all bad, with The Wonder Years, Neighbours and BMX Bandits all considered iconic expressions of culture, championing the life and games played outside. Walk the Line is a sustainable solution. It is essentially a non-material installation, requiring only labour, individual imagination and biodegradable paint made from organic polymers and natural pigments. The paint lasts up to three months and is easily removed using a biodegradable ammonia and soap solution. Walk the Line hopes to inspire a revival of the much-loved, pre-iPod fun that used to be played in our streets.
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