Students Research the Evolution of Newcastle’s Oldest Street
Students from the University of Newcastle's Master of Architecture program have been challenged to map the history of Watt Street, one of Newcastle's most iconic streets, for an upcoming semi-permanent art installation aimed at rejuvenating the city.
City Evolutions is a new project commissioned by the City of Newcastle. The aim is to bring new life and people to Watt St at the east end of the city and promote Newcastle's oldest street as the place to be for safe and cultural night time entertainment.
A self-guided, night time tour scheduled to start early this year will take visitors on a journey through Watt Street's history and fuse storytelling with a series of interactive light projections.
The Master of Architecture students, supervised by academic Chris Tucker, undertook a summer research scholarship with the project.
The end-goal of City Evolutions will see Watt Street lit up with a combination of art and architecture, as presented in this video. The project has seen the students researching the history of the street before habitation, settlement and into the modern era.
The project saw students Robertson Smith, Sacha Parkinson and Jasmine Richardson researching the way the street has evolved through historic maps, the state library's resources and the University's Flickr database.
Over their seven week scholarship the students overlayed historic maps, correlating with photographs and converting this data into CAD (computer aided design) , with interest in tracking spatial development, the evolution of the facades of buildings and the spaces we chose not to build.
In addition to the historical research, graduating Master of Architecture student Gemma Savio researched interactive art and its application to the project, aiming to integrate an element of 'play' to the delivery of the research of the other students.
"It's a project that is aimed at revitalising the city through art and acknowledgment of our history, and that means people need to get engaged", Gemma said.
The City Evolutions on Watt Street Project is supported by The City of Newcastle, with additional support from Newcastle NOW and the University of Newcastle. It has been funded through a T-QUAL Grant administered by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
The City Evolutions project will be going live in June this year. For more information, see the City Evolutions website and Facebook page.