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University of New South Wales

Sydney is a city that has had to develop rapidly over the last 230 years since settlement. This caused the city to lack a unique character with neighborhoods looking quite similar to each other despite the fact that they have differing communities, building typologies and activities within them. However, one thing most of these neighborhoods have in common with each other is the presence of a gas station on prime real estate. With the gas stations set to become obsolete in the near future due to the rise in the popularity of electric vehicles, a unique opportunity to revitalize these neighborhoods has presented itself. The concept is to assign programs to the site which are specific to the neighborhood and would resonate with the local residents.

Site Selection & Building Programs-

The site selected for this purpose is a BP gas station located in Kensington, Sydney. This building is situated next to UNSW Sydney and is surrounded by a residential locality predominantly housing students. Due to the student community here, this neighborhood is bustling with people on the streets throughout most of the day and this is what the new design and purpose of the gas station should be orientated towards. For this, the function chosen for the space will be a 24hr fitness center and a rentable community space. The highly variable student timetables will work well with the 24hr open fitness center and the event space which can have a multitude of uses such as pop-up art galleries, social events, and exhibitions which can further promote student life within the vicinity. Furthermore, keeping in mind that the electric car revolution is set to increasingly gain traction as battery technology improves, we would also provide charging stations for electric vehicles.

Design Development-

Step 1 - Reduction:
The existing gas station consists of two structures, one is the building for the 24/7 convenience store and the other is a space frame shading structure covering the fuel pump aisles. The front wall of the convenience store will be stripped down and the fuel pumps will be removed.
Step 2 - Addition:
In order to make a design that can be easily constructed, cheap, and sustainable, recycled/ salvaged timber and poly carbonate sheets will be used to construct the front façade for the convenience store and all facades for the room built using the space frame. Once the buildings have been completely refurbished, the chargers for the electric vehicles can be added to the site.
Step 3 – Futurization:
However, as time passes and electric vehicle technology advances and much more portable charging equipment is developed, people would prefer charging their cars closer to their residences. Once this happens, the electric chargers will gradually be removed from the site and be replaced by community spaces such as an addition to the fitness center or a library.

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