Construction of the City of Sydney’s $18 million creative hub at Green Square is now underway, following a sod-turning ceremony today at the former South Sydney Hospital site in Zetland.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore was joined by a team of leading architects and designers to officially break ground on the project, which will transform heritage-listed buildings into creative facilities for the 61,000 people who will soon live in Green Square.
Dormitories in the three-storey Esme Cahill Building, home to nurses during and after WWII, will be refurbished as artist studios, gallery spaces, creative workshops, classrooms and spaces available for the community to hire.
Attached to the exterior of the building, an elegant roof will create a space large enough to host musical performances, yoga and exercise classes, and even small markets.
A former pathology building will also house a community shed, complete with workshops and public facilities. It will face the new Matron Ruby Grant Park, featuring a new children’s playground.
The Lord Mayor said the creative hub would become a significant facility and public meeting place for the Green Square community.
“Green Square is one of the fastest-growing precincts in NSW, so we’re matching that growth with high-quality community facilities for locals and visitors,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This creative hub will provide important recreational spaces for people of all ages, and a lively precinct where artists, makers, creative groups and start-ups will be able to come together, develop their talents and share creative ideas.
“This project will breathe new life into the former South Sydney Hospital’s heritage-listed buildings, preserving their rich history and ensuring they will be enjoyed by generations to come.”
The South Sydney Hospital site sits within the Green Square town centre, a 13-hectare area just four kilometres south of the city centre.
The City has committed $540 million over the next 10 years on extensive infrastructure and streetscaping works throughout the area, as well as new community facilities including the creative hub, an aquatic centre, library and plaza, childcare centre and more than 15new parks and open spaces.
The area will eventually have 30,500 new dwellings, including about 10,000 now under assessment or construction. When fully completed, Green Square will have a population of up to 61,000 people, and provide around 21,000 permanent jobs – many of which will be in the new town centre.
The creative hub’s lead architect, Peter Stutchbury from award-winning architecture firm Peter Stutchbury Architecture, said: “At a time when communities at large are being disenfranchised, we value our role re-establishing a place where core community values overlap.
“I commend Belinda Koopman, Peter Stutchbury Architecture project architect, and Nicole Robinson, City of Sydney design manager, for their dedication and creativity creating this oasis. The City of Sydney must be acknowledged for their vision.”
Work on the creative hub is expected to be complete in mid-2017 and will be overseen by lead contractor, Lahey Constructions, and landscape architects James Mather Delaney Design, Sprout Landscape Architecture and CAB Consulting.
The South Sydney Hospital was built in stages between 1913 and the 1930s, and served the local community until its closure in 1993.
Several of the buildings and open spaces that will form the creative hub are named after significant local historical figures – including Esme Cahill, the wife of long-serving NSW Premier, Joe Cahill, and Ruby Grant, matron of the Royal South Sydney Hospital from 1928 to 1947.
The 278-hectare Green Square development area includes the suburbs of Beaconsfield and Zetland, and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo.
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