The Sydney Foreshore Cultural Walkway is a 9km walk along the harbor foreshore from the Australian Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour to Woolloomooloo, accessed at different points and weaving through some of Sydney’s most well known and iconic cultural institutions, parks, bays and urban settings.
Observational research identified the site to be a disjointed and unconnected route, with a variety of unrelated signage and visually cluttered maps. Pedestrians tended to bottleneck between The Rocks and The Opera House, with a lack of foot traffic in newer areas such as Barangaroo Reserve. The design brief identified the need for digital accessibility. Furthermore, there was to be a focus on “storytelling,” bringing to light the historical narratives relevant to the Sydney foreshore area and incorporating them into a new system.
Therefore, the design solution proposed a cohesive navigational mapping system, incorporating physical and digital wayfinding. The outcome focuses on incorporating Australian Indigenous culture, creating a historical journey as the user navigates the area.
The system is applied to the web, an app, signage, in print and within the physical landscape as a large-scale concrete installation. The installation, located at the Stargazer Lawn in Barangaroo, allows users to touch and interact with it, whilst viewing the city from a high vantage point. Aesthetics of the map are drawn from connotations of the word “stargazer,” thus the design is reminiscent of indigenous imagery and antique celestial maps.
Accompanying the map is a color-coded paver system, weaving along the foreshore footpath and designed to illuminate indigenous historical events or stories relevant to certain geographical points. Markers correlate with a digital platform, allowing users to read each story on their smartphone as they navigate along the walkway.
Ultimately, the Sydney Foreshore Cultural Walkway establishes the nine kilometers of foreshore as a single route and generates a greater audience at Barangaroo reserve Stargazer Lawn. The digital navigation system encourages education and awareness of Indigenous Australian stories.
David Beaumont, City of Sydney; Glenn Wallace