Project | Coffee House
Phase | Final Design
Year | 5th Year Design – 2012
Location | Hunter & Crown St Newcastle NSW.
Idea | This project explores the hidden value in existing space which the city holds, it aims to bring to the surface ideas of re-use and revival through dislocations, de-constructions and reconstructions re calibrating the urban fabric, forming complex future urban morphologies which can be built upon whilst retaining the remnants of the city. This project provides a framework for further rehabilitation of lost space within the city of Newcastle.
Program | The project includes a specialty roasting works and store, offering communal bean storage in a humidity controlled environment, including independent space hire and members facilities for sample roasting and cupping.Coffee house offers a collaborative approach to solve the difficulties of importing and storing green coffee whilst expanding coffee knowledge and understanding for emerging independent roasters and cafe’s. This project also provides frameworks for creative studios, exhibition space and temporary accommodation which aims to retain creative urban initiatives similar to Renew Newcastle within the city.
Site | Newcastle possesses a multitude of unrealised sites, which have either been left to deteriorate or have been looked over failing to view the inherent potential. It seems post industrial Newcastle holds these pockets of untapped possibilities, they are broken fragments within the urban fabric. The body of Newcastle is disjointed and dislocated. The city needs to be re-stitched in order for the revival of the body.
The site, an existing urban block, is positioned on the fringe of Newcastle’s CBD and is part of the connecting joint between the CBD and other cultural hubs, such as Darby street and the future legal precinct. This block forms part of the fracture in the urban morphology linking the east vein of Newcastle to the west and subtle south veins. This site holds a rich variety of existing heritage buildings including, the former Lucky Country Hotel, terrace housing and store front retail and former KFC building. Most of these buildings are unoccupied deactivating this fragment of the city.
Deconstruction | The existing ‘Lucky Country’ site to the North and existing terrace buildings to the South were carefully de-constructed in order to re-calibrate the site for its new purposes as well as forming a framework for further urban morphologies for the remaining site as well as neighboring urban blocks. (The plan above illustrates the de-constructed elements in red)
Ground Floor| The design intent was to provide the pedestrian with a journey of discovery through the coffee house. The Roasting works are positioned to directly engage with the street frontage and the passing pedestrian. The cafe entrance is relatively small where a tight hallway moves past the coffee roasting and silos as you move through people in order to find where you are to be served your coffee. The barrister is seemingly hidden towards the back opening towards the lane-way in order to draw people through the site. Seating is located throughout the site providing a range of environments for the humanistic interactions which take place in the Coffee House. The visitor is directly engaged with the coffee making process as the roasting works are displaced throughout the building. A proposed boutique bakery is located on the ground floor of the existing terrace buildings which is opened up allowing pedestrians to move through the bakery to King st.
First Floor| One of the approaches to the site was to begin to link and stitch the existing buildings together through program and physical intervention. The first floor of the coffee house is left relatively open providing the ground floor with a double height space allowing for the theatrics of the roasting machinery suspended and allowing natural light to penetrate. A series of balconies provides view of the roasting works and cupping rooms where scheduled cupping events and tasting will occur. The balconies also provide more intimate spaces for people to meet or work. Existing columns and beams penetrate through the entire building acting as a skeletal structure where the machinery is suspended from. The first floor of the Coffee House also provides informal exhibitions and event spaces for designers, musicians and artists which work and live locally. The exhibition space is also linked to the creative studios & temporary residencies located in the existing terrace buildings to the south of the site, creating a dynamic link between the two buildings and the re-calibrated lane-way.
Existing facade de-constructed, creating an urban folly which leads the eye to an existing arch in order to draw the pedestrian into the lane-way activity. The existing Lucky Country hotel’s interior is pulled away exposing the facade skin forming a small public exterior intermediate space.
For the progress of the project moving towards the final design phase I decided to being focusing on the activation of the lane-way and the stitching of the site between buildings. I began developing the rear of the terrace housing which has two story brick extensions currently used for businesses on the ground floor and residential on the first floor. These extensions are to be used to house creative studios, where musicians, artists and designers are able to lease spaces to produce their works. I began to explore how the site could support and evolving nature of as the need of the terrace buildings begin to change over time. I have developed a scheme where there are connecting storage elements on the ground floor of each studio which can be removed in order to link the studios into one if business expands. It is also possible for creative tenancies on the rear to obtain a storefront retail space extending off the creative studio in order to sell their products. If this is not the case, a separate tenant is able to occupy that retail space.
I also began to develop a link from the Coffee House through existing terraces to King street. This link is provided by a boutique bakery which can be traversed through to the lane-way and into the coffee house. This has developed through the removal of a portion of the existing terraces to pride a release in the lane way, which becomes a nucleus within the site, where people will meet and gather. To compliment this release space a social meeting hub has been inserted to the edge of Crown Street. This is a building which provides an informal library space for the public and the creative studios. It is a collaborative space where people can meet work and read. This building has purposefully been denied a street entrance as it required people to enter the site through the lane-way and discover the entrance whilst on the way also discovering an array of other elements.
Batista station located deeper within the building in order for people to find and discover fragments of the site as they move through the tight lane ways brushing past people and catching glimpses of the roasting works.
Exposed Specialty Roasting Works activity directly engages with the public. A double height space allowing for the theatrics of the roasting machinery suspended from existing patina columns and beams whilst natural light penetrates opened space exaggerating the rough patina brickwork against the pristine and refined nature of the machinery
Conclusion | The Coffee House began as an idea to create space in which human interactions can take place, the exchange of ideas, the creation of artworks, the fellowship with a friend. It finished with the same idea being present, however being secondary to the processes which were discovered along the way. This project has been more about the discovery of process than the production and interactions associated with the consumption of coffee. The resolution of this project challenges my initial proposals in the concept and schematic phases of this course diverging from the pursuit of style and over scaled uniform developments which swallow the inherent value of the existing urban fabric.
Thank you| Mark Spence (Tutor). Chris Tucker. Mark Taylor & my fellow 5yr partners in crime.