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St Annes Performance Space

Part 1 Project 2011
David Pope
University of Sydney, Australia
St Anne's has seen extensive change since its original function as a church. St Anne's served as a church for two hundred years until it was redesigned to serve as a printing works. Following the closing of the press the church began to be slowly restored to its original condition. Parts of the new additions were stripped back, the plaster was removed revealing the frescoes again, the beams of the added storeys were cut back to where they met the wall. The church was then converted to a performance space. At each stage of its development, the building has become a new embodiment of the intention of its occupants.

The brief asks for an update of this performance space. My project aims to express St Anne's current function as a performance space by making the building a performer. The structure responds to the movements of the audience as they move through the building by using their weight to move elements of its structure.

As the audience walk across the bridge their weight is translated to the roof where skylights simultaneously let light into the interior. The curved form that develops in the skylights is as a result of the translation of the bending moment of the weight of the audience on the suspended bridge. As they move across the bridge, the translation of their weight to each glassed segment of the bridge translates itself to the ceiling. With their movement along the bridge a wave of light follows the audience as they make their way to the stage. The involvement of the building in this way aims to reconfigure its function by making it an active participant in the audience's journey to the stage.

Following the conclusion of the performance the audience leave the performance space by moving to the elevator embedded in the stage. The elevator uses the weight of the audience members and, if need be, siphons water from the top of the amenities block located at the other end of the church through the bridges handrails to a ballast in the floor of the elevator.

David Pope


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