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Overseas Passenger Terminal and Hotel Sydney, Australia

Part 2 Project 2011
Raeana Henderson
University of Newcastle Newcastle Australia
“All Australian imports and for a long time all its immigrants came by sea; nowadays aircraft have taken over the latter role and seaborne travellers are either ‘boat people’ or cruise passengers.”
- Frank Broeze

“The basic differences between [Australia's Aborigines] and the immigrants of the last two hundred years lay not in skin pigmentation but in social organization. White immigrants [...] imported a class structure and the ideology of capitalism.”
- Ken Buckley

In Australia there is a contradiction in the treatment of people arriving from overseas as codified by their wealth. This is clearly evident in the contrast in the public reception of people arriving by a luxury cruise liner versus that of those arriving by an asylum-seeker boat. The cruise liner is welcomed into Australian cities as a public spectacle, admired for its grandeur. However, asylum-seeker boat arrivals are intercepted before they have an opportunity to come near Australia's harbours and its passengers are locked away in remote detention centres. The duality of treatment for these two vessel types brings the myth of Australia's hospitality into question.

Located on Garden Island, this project is a reaction to the charged political conditions that are inherent to the history of the project’s location in Sydney harbour and the contradictions that are implied by the implementation of a cruise terminal and hotel program on such a site.

These two building typologies are examined as places where we may find meaning in the way in which architectural elements define space and frame the human treatment of those within. The project critiques the social hierarchies as the building is arranged with divisions to segregate the passengers according to the vertical arrangement of their class levels onboard the ship. Accordingly, in the hotel, the visitors who stay in the first class suites join the grand social elite of the upper levels. These rooms offer the ultimate in self-indulgence and have enhanced levels of comfort. Guests here are assured complete security and social segregation from the lower classes.

Raeana Henderson


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