Yr 11 Architecture Excursion

24 May 2023

On Monday 15th May, eight Yr 11 Visual Art Students along with Visual Arts Teacher Alisan Smotlak attended a walking excursion around the Circular Quay area of Sydney. With a focus on built forms, they were led by Architect Eoghan Lewis from Sydney Architectural Walks. This excursion is intrinsically connected to our Term 2 theme of Architecture. The students will be designing a structure for an area in the school, and through exploring an immersive experience the students can see how choices are made and how form impacts audience.

The walk began by paying respects to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation who are the traditional custodians of the land. They meandered for 3 hours uncovering and discovering buildings and laneways that mark the CBD, including iconic buildings such as Customs House, the Museum of Sydney, Auroa Place and the iconic Opera House, along with a number of site specific public sculptures. The conversation focused on learning how the ecological, political, economic, cultural, social issues of the time helped shape many of the architecture and design outcomes. 

The students took the time to examine and touch the surfaces of the buildings, feel the space between buildings, notice the shadows cast and how the sun filtered into buildings. Craning our necks the dwarfing nature of many of the buildings was notable. The Architects responsibility with regard to more recent requirements of sustainability was discussed, and we learned how the different Government codes determine parameters. 

The Opera House, designed by Jorn Utzon, although almost 50 years old, to the young student can still provide a measure of awe and wonder. We learnt how Utzon borrowed ideas from all cultures, like the tiles made in the same materials as the Islamic mosques (that have stood for 1000 years). They are made with two different glazes that dance in the sun, like fish scales. The sails are not sails but a living ‘ skin’ sitting on a skeletal structure and when viewed from the south displays gothic pointed arches. The platforms the Opera house sits upon are borrowed from the natural layering of Sydney sandstone. Overall, it was an insight into one section of our city. It hopefully will instigate ideas and the creation of dynamic models, these will be exhibited in Term 3.