The Canopy and Belvedere provide a welcoming entrance and civic-scaled shelter for the new two-hectare Pirrama Park in Pyrmont, announcing its presence to city and harbour.
The Canopy and Belvedere signal the waterfront termination of Harris Street, which is the principal spine of the Ultimo / Pyrmont peninsula. This street connects a rich sequence of urban spaces, community and public buildings dotted along its length.
The lofty Canopy and grounded Belvedere are complementary structures that overlap in plan and section. The Canopy’s north end provides a grand protected entry into the park, while its south end extends over the Belvedere to provide a more intimate yet elevated viewing terrace. The west side covers the park entry stair off Harris Street, while the east side forms a double-scaled colonnade to a lawn square within the park.
The Canopy has a primary steel structure, consisting of four tapering steel columns supporting asymmetrical roof trusses. The columns step in plan, with each column and pair of trusses forming an opposed balanced cantilever, tied together by a perimeter beam. The roof, clad in copper over each module, has copper-lined water chutes nestled into the open profile of each steel column. While the columns contest gravity, the chutes joyfully display the rain, and express the passage of water from roof to underground storage tanks for reuse.
Sheltered by its copper parasol, the undulating timber-battened soffit follows the section of the alternating profile of the trusses. The battens are aligned towards the bay, replicating the water’s refractions. The Canopy provides generous shade and shelter to the elements, and becomes the architectural symbol of the park.
The Belvedere is an open platform supported by a concrete shell, which is nestled into the landform. It provides an elevated outlook down the length of the park and beyond to White Bay’s dramatic container terminal and the green slopes of East Balmain. Closer lateral views open to the new park elements, surveying the sheltered bay, community square, playground and the Pirrima Road cliff face stair.
The Belvedere seamlessly enlarges Harris Street’s footpath at the Pirrima Road intersection. Easily accessible it enables promenade and pause. Beneath the Belvedere are compacted the functional elements of the park services, public toilets and a café / kiosk.
The Belvedere’s primary off-form concrete structure is articulated by secondary timber and steel elements. Above the stairs, deck, seats and handrail are recycled timber, with steel connectors. Below the toilets and café can be closed off by sliding screens, which are steel-framed and timber clad. In contrast to the bright expansiveness of the Belvedere, the toilets are more cave-like, with a darker palette.
The Canopy and Belvedere memorably mark the point of transition between the consolidating urbanity of Pyrmont and the environmental qualities of the expansive waterfront park.
Together the structures are enlivened by human occupation. Whether walking along the footpath, perched against the balustrade, snacking in the café, drinking from the bubblers, or sitting in the shade, the architecture forms the dignified backdrop to urban life, to quiet solitude and happy socialisation.