Domain, Alingha Street Canberra, 2006
Existing urban infrastructure, coloured lighting gels
The city is mankind’s greatest artefact.Claude Levi Straus
When the diurnal weekday bustle of Alinga Street’s workers, commuters, and shoppers recedes, replaced by the more inert and sedate movement of the nocturnal society of bars and restaurants, a quiet darkness hangs upon the street. Red Blue Passage seeks to disturb the quiet, by punctuating the night with an unexpected and alluring intervention in this constant landscape.
The urban environs of Alinga Street defined by Moore Street and Marcus Clarke Street, are perhaps commonplace in Canberra, but are more remarkable if seen anew. Beyond its unkempt state, the pedestrian footbridge has a fantastic muscularity, regularly punctuated by square portals that generate an exciting composition, transparency and rhythm. Whilst in contrast, the colonnade within the ACT Health building, sits more politely withdrawn from the edge of the street, with an elegantly vertical proportion and restrained formality. These two fine urban artifacts form an appealing, conjoined relationship, a perpendicular diptych.
Red Blue Passage utilises sculptural potentials to present a rich, delightful, nocturnal display. Contrasting colours highlight volume and composition, and the utilisation of the existing light fixtures directly opposes the phlegmatic white of urban formality. The viewer is encouraged to engage with the altered scale and perspective of the night, and of the possibilities and unexpected beauty of the city’s servant spaces and elements. It is anticipated that the ephemeral, yet monumental scale of Red Blue Passage, will linger with people long after it has been extinguished.