King Square Design Competition
//thedeadpixelproject and -post (Design team - Robert Cameron, Andrei Smolik, Beth George, Nic Brunsdon)
The Highest Building on the Street
High Street: it brings you into Freo, it diverts,
disintegrates and disappears, you lose track of it,
you meet it again in the Mall and there at the end is
the Roundhouse. The High Street of any town is its
spine. Your guide. Or at least it is meant to be.
Our High street is now the tallest thing in Fremantle. Embodied by a moving, flexing, talking, dancing wall. A beacon, an anchor. You can see it from anywhere, it will tell you what is going on, and best of all: you can play with it.
In this scheme, High Street is edged by a vast, robotic - mechanical wall, legible from far afield as the anchor of the city: a way-finding device that articulates the passing of High Street through Kings Square, which defines around it three new public squares, that houses programme, supports new mass, and gently sidles up to the historic Town hall.
The Sentient Wall
It is also the city's message-board; a membrane between
the council and library and the public, a skin
made of a high-tech structure that disseminates, absorbs,
and physically reacts to information. As an
open-source, programmable, operable surface, the wall
of High Street mediates between the council and its
public, merging the two functions with engrossing
civic activities. People can talk to the wall - can
read the wall, watch it, make it move. Made up of
articulated, telescopic arms, stretched over with LED
- studded fabric and able to be pushed, pulled, projected
onto, silhouetted and to broadcast in the
manner of a television, the wall is a sophisticated
piece of infrastructure that breaks down the separation
between the public and the private/enclosed functionality
of the library and council chambers.
More than this, the High Street wall is sentient. It has senses and can execute its own responses. Through the feeding of data into the structure via cameras mounted in the square, the wall can respond to its viewers: a wiggle, a dance, an embrace, a retraction, a ripple on the breeze. Cameras, attached as climbing robots to tall poles in the Library square, map and relay information through a script that causes the arms of the wall to move. In this way the wall itself can mimic the square. It can also read the way a person is moving; sense their state and react in kind. It can be programmed to respond to the weather, to function as a screen, to perform, to fold down or stretch out.
The sentient wall is at once a definition of the axis of High Street that hinges Fremantle to its coastal port and the receptacle for types of civic activity which no longer need to be housed in the public "hall".
Download the App. Text the wall.Current political issue that requires the transparency of social comment? Write it on the wall. Sporting event? Watch the wall. Bring a picnic. A day in the square with not too much to do? Watch the wall watching you! That little ripple in the skin is you moving through the square: watch it. Did it just move when you did? Stop. The wall stops. Move. The wall moves. Play with it. It will play with you. With the light oblique to the skin, watch a projection. With the setting sun moving behind, watch the movement of the people within. In the dark, watch the skin come alive with imagery dispersed across its network of LED bulbs. When it's hot, see it billow out from the building. When it's cold, watch it retreat.
Give it a hug.