Sydney 2000 Olympics

Sydney, Australia

Hargreaves Associates led the design of the Public Domain for Homebush Bay, site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  The master plan previously done for the site located major venues along a central boulevard but did not create a design for the public realm as an equally important and desirable destination.  The public domain design revisited the master plan and for the first time established a cohesive identity for the games and a common “address” for the stadiums, arenas, aquatic and athletic centers, exhibition halls, and major infrastructure including rail and ferry terminals, with Hargreaves Associates leading an intensive series of workshops with Olympic authorities, architects, numerous specialists and project managers.  The centerpiece of the public domain, the 800 meter long Olympic Plaza, tilts slightly from the high point of the site, marked by a participatory fountain and a grove of mature fig trees transplanted from the site (which was historically the world’s second largest abattoir) to the low point where the arcing jets and wetlands treat the storm water from the site in a dramatic visual terminus of the plaza.  The earth excavated to create the wetlands was formed into a large pyramidal hill from which spectators watched the sun set over the games at the end of each day, and which park goers today still enjoy.  The porous paving and structural soil devised for the project, along with the storm water treatment and re-use for irrigation helped ensure a sustainable future for the “Green Games”.