Sydney Laneways

TypePublic Art ProposalLocationSydney, AustraliaYear2012StatusDesign SubmissionArchitectCumulus Studio in collaboration with Futago


Wandering George Street, just heading from A to B, a small piece of lush green ground catches the eye. As though some movement of the ground underneath had cleaved two steep-sided buildings apart, Abercrombie Lane is the lush fissure that remains. In the tearing apart, it is almost as though a piece of original ground is revealed – a tiny sliver of riverbank perhaps – heading to a stream that is no more.

Originally a source of fresh water for Sydney, the Tank Stream is an invisible key to the city’s settlement. Abercrombie Lane leads down to Tank Stream Way, which is part of the line of the watercourse that Sydney was built around. While the stream itself is hidden in tunnels under the pavements and buildings, the slope of Abercrombie Lane is a place where it is still possible to read the original topography of the riverbank.

The public artwork proposed to reclad the ground of a narrow, sloping land off George Street with artificial turf. The turf undulated as it touched the buildings on either side, as if it might represent the movement of water, draining down the riverbank.

By reconnecting users of the city with the naturally undulating and inviting landscape, it is hoped that the hidden layers of the city might be revealed and become a new source of life for the city’s urban realm.