Iconic architecture is conceptualized as a hegemonic project of the transnational capitalist class. In the global era, I argue, iconic architecture strives to turn more or less all public space into consumerist space, not only in the obvious case of shopping malls but more generally in all cultural spaces. The inspiration that iconic architecture has provided historically generally coexisted with repressive political and economic systems and for change to happen an alternative form of non-capitalist globalization is necessary. A truly inspiring iconic architecture, including an existing architectural icon, may create genuinely democratic public space in which the culture-ideology of consumerism fades away. In this way, a built environment in which the full array of human talents can flourish may begin to emerge.
In search of finding an abandoned architectural marvel which can be transformed into Iconic Architecture, I stumbled upon Wangi Power Station. The Wangi power station is one of the most ambitious unique architecturally significant examples of industrial trial infrastructure. A state heritage listed monument with architectural geological and social significance. Its operation ceased in 1985 and has been abandoned since then.
It made a lasting impression on my memory, the massive volume with rustic surfaces, partly broken elements, natural light entering these spaces adding depth to the space creating a subjective experience for an individual.
The exploited use of the building by the community to express their ideas has a stark contrast with the exquisite natural backdrop of a lush green reserve and Lake Macquarie. The most intriguing part was how the massive structure uses the sunlight in a unique way- one forming a well-lit space and the other as a dark volume.
The research started with studying the stenciling parts of the site forming negatives. Simultaneously studying the art of the graffiti an unconventional form of art with evoking individual perspectives.
The proposal of this built structure is to provide a forum for the community to present their ideas. Provide a space that people can engage with and this has been achieved by enhancing the spatial qualities of the existing structure by introducing few interventions in the space by minimum material additions. This leaves a scope for growth in time while paying attention to the existing structural elements and utilizing the full potential of its setting. Creating a new image based on the story of the old. ‘ROUGH CAN BE PRETTY’.
It is a space that would be used to its full potential by the locals and outlanders, ensuring the social importance of the place is retained. The interventions introduced in the project ensure that they are minimal making sure that the heritage importance and significance of the space is maintained.
The range of drawings produced have a scheme of brown and grey. While the brown signifies the existing structures; the grey's portray the introduced interventions.