Sippy Downs is the gateway to the Sunshine Coast’s knowledge precinct of the, featuring a rapidly growing urban population, newly introduced high density living, and the major campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Early in 2019 an experimental co-lab was set up by the Sunshine Coast Council in conjunction with a cross disciplinary team of students from the University of the Sunshine Coast. You can read more about that co-lab here. Ideas were generated during this process for an entry statement that would sit at a major intersection where upgrades were being undertaken.
Following the development of these ideas, POMO was engaged to take the basic ideas further and into a finalised set of designs. Working closely with the Sunshine Coast Council and lighting designer-collaborator Rick Morrison owner of Light In Design, the team set about developing a bold and compelling statement for Sippy Downs that was founded on the unique qualities of the place.
A collaborative approach was used which involved POMO as lead design consultants, working closely with the Sunshine Coast Council and lighting designers Light In Design.
The name ‘Sippy’ is derived from the Aboriginal word Dhippi or Jippi, a generic name for ‘winged creatures’ and believed to be ‘a place of birds (Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government). The wetlands in the area are well known for supporting a range of wildlife.
This founding principle informed the development of the design, drawing on the Goshawk as a bird which is found locally, but also a bird who has species which are now long since gone from the area - such as the Red Goshawk.
The design for the structure emerged from early prototyping in the studio using model making and sketching. It was informed by the idea of bird wings, turning and rising, symmetrical - but not completely symmetrical - replicating nature’s imperfections.
Lighting was a key focus of the design, and we were able to incorporate a lighting design through which features programmable colour changing lights purpose designed for each fin so as to not overpower the structure or the surrounding area.
Timber, locally and lovingly shaped by hand, fixed to each element in the wings softens the structure and brings through a reference to a secondary band of natural colour or feathers.
The seat design was developed from the mathematical coordinates taken from the outstretched wings of a Goshawk bird in flight. With subtle lighting from underneath, the seat can appear to float at night.
The botanical signs have drawings which were hand sketched by a local artist, and speak of local flora found in the area.
The garbage bins feature stories of local students and their journey through or early experiences of education - Sippy Downs being the gateway to the Sunshine Coast knowledge precinct, various schools and the university campus.
Local history was brought to life through a sign which tells the story of Sippy Downs from indigenous inhabitation to present day.
A complete place-anchored project, developed through a collaborative process which combines artistic design with purposeful outcomes and speaks to the creative spirit and unique natural environment of the Sunshine Coast. A bold and ambitious design, totally unique, which challenges expectations, pushes the boundaries of materials, surprises, and delivers on the objective to create a real statement for a rapidly changing part of the Sunshine Coast.
When we set out to design our studio we approached it like any design project, we began by identifying the priorities and creating a strategic framework to guide the decision making.
The initial priority was to create something simple to build, something sustainable, creatively inspiring and something that was cost effective. Through research it became clear that achieving these things was not necessarily difficult.
Working with the landscape design team POMO were able to create a number of key design initiatives that would contribute to the locally inspired placemaking program and deliver on practical community needs.
POMO was engaged to design and construct a number of landscape elements. Each element was custom designed and born from the uniqueness of Palmwoods, they reference local history, using locally sourced materials and were being made collaboratively with local craftspeople and artisans.
Underlying this was a larger design and management process run by POMO involving construction design, design reporting, engineering certification, construction and project management and installation on-site. A true multidisciplinary and multi-skilled program with a wide range of stakeholders and projects participants.
The project won the Excellence Award at the 2018 Queensland AILA awards for Civic Design. It also won gold in the same category at the national awards.