This is a redevelopment project of an abandoned tunnel that sits about 12 meters below street-level beneath Hyde Park and Macquarie Street. In 2018, NSW government sought an expression of interest to revive the north section of the abandoned tunnel and aims this project to become part of international tourism marketing campaign and earn billions of dollars every year. As my design research thesis, I undertook this project to explore underground architecture. The design strategy for the project is "Tunnel as a protagonist, is a piece of artifact and a museum in itself. Walls and ground are to be kept intact. Raised platform to guide the visitors to experience the spaces throughout the tunnel."
Entrance to the tunnel are from three points: St James Station, Hyde Park and Martin Place which will also be provision for fire escape exit, natural light and ventilation. Entrance in hyde park is aligned with Archibald fountain so that view of Archibald fountain from Maquarie street is not obstructed.
The tunnel has different chambers divided by blast curtain walls, so I have identified these different chambers as Art gallery/Restaurant chamber, Big Ben /Lake St James chamber, Mushroom farm chamber, Service Area chamber and World War 2 Museum chamber.
In both art gallery and restaurant, there is mezzanine floor. Double glass doors are provided at the entrance from St James station to control noise from trains. All interventions will be free standing to prevent impact on walls. Hand rail is designed considering how the visitor will lean on it while observing display.
In big ben/ lake st james chamber, a bell structure was made for a film shooting to replicate the sound of big ben bell in London and the tunnel was once flooded with water and water accumulated was named as Lake st james. So these will be preserved. Here, raised platform will act as bridge to cross lake st james.
Mushroom farm chamber. In 1933 this tunnel was used for mushroom farm. So, commercial mushroom farming started from this tunnel. Thus I want to revive this history and also the environment conditions for growing mushroom is suitable in the tunnel. Adjacent to mushroom farm will be restaurant serving mushrooms directly from the farm. So, basically it will be like lab to plate restaurant. And there will be an observation passage where people can see through glass partition inside the fruiting chamber and see what they will be eating for dinner.
In service area, there will be information desk, waiting area, restrooms for gents, ladies and handicap, store and staircase and lift leading from martin place.
In the end point will be world war 2 museum, real life size human sculptures will be displayed performing different activities such as distributing food, children attending class, people sleeping on floor, etc as shown in pictures so that visitors can experience how people had lived in tunnel during air raid in world war II.
In this chamber there are also graffiti written on the walls by army during world war 2 remembering their loved ones. So these also will be preserved and displayed.