Sian Mahony, [re]establishing forgotten sites [×]
Heritage buildings are at risk of being demolished for today’s constant need for development. Existing and dilapidated structures are left unconsidered as opportunities for activation. Is it necessary to destroy heritage buildings to accommodate contemporary additions? Is restoration the way forward? Can we implement something as subjective as value to dictate demolition, restoration and adaption?
The research project explores topics of destruction and decay, authenticity and imitation, as well as adaptation and connection. These explorations have influenced the direction in which the research has taken shape, ultimately leading towards ideas of how a site can be preserved through adaptation, with a focus on how the old and the new can meet.
Collage has become a recurring technology connecting images from varying locations, situations and times. These new configurations allow for an adapted narrative to dictate a relationship between heritage and contemporary elements and to not stand as mutually exclusive interiors. Contemporary elements can highlight and enhance the details of the heritage. Marrying these offers a connection between past, present and future.
At present we are facing a pandemic and with this comes uncertain times and economic struggles. A vast majority of the hospitality industry has been in strain due to government restrictions and the change of values of usual customers. Many have adapted to these uncertain times by creating flexible spaces and offerings to cater for the audience and their newfound slow pace. The site of this project is the Flinders Street Station Ballroom – a dilapidated site that has not been open to the public since 1983 but is a hidden treasure due to its iconic location, rich history and ornamental architectural features. This research project aims to activate the Ballroom by introducing the program of a food hall to reunite the community and hospitality industry after a long period of isolation, and to celebrate the building, the city and its businesses.