Australian artist and architect Chris Fox has reimagined Sydney’s railway lines to create a major new sculptural landmark, Interchange Pavilion, inviting visitors to reflect on the various histories of the site as well as come together before diverging into their own future journeys.
The multi-award winning Sydney artist, Founder and Director of Studio Chris Fox and Senior Lecturer in Art Processes and Architecture at the University of Sydney, creates large-scale public art installations that interrogate the conceptual and material boundaries between art and architecture. Fox is renowned for transforming the historic 1930’s wooden escalators from the heritage-listed Wynyard station into the celebrated artwork Interloop, a major fifty metre installation suspended above the York Street escalators.
For Interchange Pavilion – a major new commission by Mirvac and its consortium partners for South Eveleigh, Fox drew inspiration from the precinct’s rail history combining over 250 metres of stainless steel ground rails, 15 tonnes of robotically moulded glass reinforced concrete and 1400 pieces of router cut hardwood. This unique material palette is supported by a 14 tonne structure made up of over 1650 pieces of digitally fabricated aluminium to create a 350 square-metre public art installation.
The arcing architectural forms of Interchange Pavilion reference the geometry of a railroad switch; the point at which a train can change its course, moving from one trajectory to another. The pavilion is a meeting place where tracks converge, a place of interchange where paths cross. Peeling from the ground plane, geometries arc overhead to create an embracing volume; a point of confluence.
“Interchange Pavilion is inspired by the iconic geometries of the meeting point between two train tracks,” said Artist Chris Fox. “It began with the rail tracks of the area around Redfern Station, Carriageworks and The Locomotive Workshops, where I noticed the distinctive switch geometry: in particular a point where the rail lines diverge off into many different tracks.”
“The switch became a way to follow all these different stories, routes and paths that have occurred on this site. The artwork is also an opportunity for visitors to reflect on these histories but also to come together before diverging into their own future journeys.”
Interchange Pavilion is a sculptural landmark of the wider contemporary public art program at South Eveleigh facilitated by Mirvac and curated by Carriageworks. Mirvac and its consortium partners AMP Capital, Sunsuper and Centuria Property Funds have focused on building a public art program at the new community precinct including sculptural and botanical interventions, landmarks and meeting places created by a number of local artists.
Public art works that form part of the wider South Eveleigh precinct include a site-specific artwork by Jonathan Jones located in the lobby of the Axle Building. Untitled (red gum slabs) also responds to South Eveleigh’s rail history, proximity to the railway network, as well as its local and state Indigenous heritage. The old red gum slabs used in this artwork were originally harvested in the Koondrook/Barham region on the Murray River, some over 100 years ago.
Visual artist Nell has created two works for the precinct, Eveleigh Treehouse created in collaboration with Cave Urban, consisting of a series of interconnected pods that capture the essence of what adults remember tree houses to be, a place for imagination, observation and retreat; and Happy Rain – a large-scale smiling cloud created from LED lighting attached to the exterior of Yerrabingin House (Building 3).
“Chris Fox has developed an iconic landmark for Sydney located in the heart of South Eveleigh’s Village Square,” said Carriageworks Director of Programs and Curator of Interchange Pavilion, Daniel Mudie Cunningham.
“Sensitive to the industrious heritage and history of the area, Interchange Pavilion takes the rail tracks as its inspiration to consider the symbolism of a network that plots our pathway across the landscape. Carriageworks is proud to partner with Mirvac to deliver ambitious and exceptional public art that enhances community experience for the wider precinct,” he added.
Studio Chris Fox navigates the complex constraints of the public domain with poetic sensibility, recalibrating our perception of place through material and architectural intervention. Utilising a wide pallet of materials, Fox creates whimsical works which weave between artistic intervention and architectural construction to create landmark sites of wonderment and beauty.
The studio utilises innovative computational processes working closely with engineers, fabricators and specialist contractors to develop an integrated collaborative workflow. This integrated approach to design and artistic thinking connects to Fox’s cross-disciplinary teaching at the University of Sydney. He looks to equip students with the conceptual and technical skills required to creatively explore dynamic transactions between art and architecture.
For more information about Interchange Pavilion, visit: www.chrisfox.com.au for details.
Image: Chris Fox, Interchange Pavilion, South Eveleigh, 2020 – photo by Josh Raymond