It’s no secret that the historic Royal South Sydney Hospital at Green Square is undergoing a major transformation. Located on the eastern side of the Green Square Town Centre currently in development, it’s flanked by Joynton Avenue to the east, Portman Street to the west, Hansard Street to the south, and, once built, Zetland Avenue to the north.

A look back at Green Square

We haven’t talked too much about the history of Green Square here – but it is fascinating and deserves to be told. Even before the area was settled and transformed into a place of bustling industry, its unique environmental landscape was a rich typography of wetlands, dunes and dense shrublands. The Eora people, for whom the area is highly culturally significant, lived here for thousands of years, hunting, fishing and foraging.

While the European settlers at first deemed it ‘useless’, from as early as the 1810s the area became a profitable and reliable water source for the city and fuelled steam power to local factories.

Over the years, Green Square housed small market gardens and mills, heavy, manufacturing plants and served as a convenient place for the city to dump its waste. It was home to a resilient and extraordinarily close working-class community, including migrants from all over the world.

The Royal South Sydney Hospital was established in 1913. In the 90s, its services were wound down until it finally closed in 2003.

If you want to learnmore, have a read of this booklet which describes the rich history of the area.

New beginnings

Today, three leading architects – Peter Stutchbury Architecture with landscape architect Craig Burton, Fox Johnston architects and CHROFI (formerly Choi Ropiha Fighera architects) – will be giving the heritage-listed hospital new life.

The old nurses’ quarters will be used as a space for creative activities and an old pathology services building will become a community shed, developed by Peter Stutchbury.

Fox Johnston is converting the former outpatients’ building into a childcare centre for the new families moving into the area. There are only a few remaining heritage buildings in the region, so the firm will try to retain the integrity of the heritage by reworking the internal spaces and incorporating a new addition onto the shared pedestrian link that runs through the site.

CHROFI are taking up work on the Green Infrastructure Centre (GIC). This key project will retain original key features such as the brick archway and sandstone detailing to the main entry.

A big focus is quality open space and public facilities, including site-responsive public art curated by Amanda Sharrad, who has previously worked on our Laneway Art program (2011) and the Sydney Sculpture Walk (2000). The artists selected to work on the project will work closely with the architects to ensure the space is relevant and sensitive the site’s rich heritage. We are looking for high level concept proposals from artists for public art to be integrated into the heritage precinct of the former Royal South Sydney Hospital. Submissions close on 3 June and you can find out more here.

Published: 29 Apr, 2014 | 0 Comments

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