Master of Architecture - University of Newcastle

Ayrton Di Paolo

Ayrton Di Paolo

NEWCASTLE FAB SQUARE

This project aims to meld a public square with a makers’ space under the brand name of the Fab (fabrication) Lab movement. Fab Lab is a movement founded on the principles of free, open access to fabrication equipment for all people.

Such a facility, in the words of founder Neil Gershenfeld, invites users to create “almost anything”, fostering a culture of learning and mentoring through peers and Fab-Lab staff. Facilities include equipment for digital fabrication and prototyping, electronics and textile workspaces, facilities for working timber and metals and spaces for collaboration and meeting.

Situated on the exposed corner of Hunter Street and Hannell Street and sandwiched between the Wickham Rail Interchange and the proposed Newcastle Bus interchange, the project demands a social hub to bring a balance to the west end. The projects is characterised by a duality between openness and introversion, the Fab Lab becomes the focal point of the site with a public lawn for spectating and participating in the workings of this makers’ space.

The purpose of Fab Labs as its founder has stated, is not to invent new technologies, but to bring awareness to regular people that they have the capability to make anything they want and not rely on the consumer market to bring it to them. The outcome is activated public space in the west end and fostering a culture of learning and innovation, to better establish the model of a Fab Lab as a common public good.

Ayrton Di Paolo

NEWCASTLE FAB SQUARE

The Newcastle Makers Hub responds to the changing character of the city’s west end. The recently completed transport interchange has provided a new gateway to the city, however it lacks connectivity within the public domain. The Makers Hub provides a pedestrian friendly public space adjacent to the Interchange and within the new civic centre.

The rapid development of the West End has eroded any notion of good public amenity. Through the diminishing role of the architect and private ownership the notion of the commons is all but forgotten. The Newcastle makers hub seeks to supplement the the amenity provided to the public by libraries and museums. Many of the services provided in this scheme have been previously inaccessible but also represent the rapid development of technology within our daily lives.

Under a charter of free and equal access, all members of the community can access spaces and facilities for making, meeting, collaborating, working and exhibiting. Through the joint patronage of the city and Newcastle University this project will be a pilot in establishing the makers hub as a new typology of good public architecture.

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