this project reconnects a rural area of new south wales, australia with the river that runs beside it. the small city of maitland seemed to have forgotten about the river; its downtown had built a solid wall of storefronts that blocked access and views to their ancient watery neighbor. the ‘maitland riverlink’, completed this year, was built by CHROFI to change this dynamic and to make the best use of the space left empty between the river and the urban center. this previously unoccupied space ‘acts as a kind of ‘public living room’ for the community, reactivating an unused part of town and drawing locals back to the river that is a fundamental part of maitland’s heritage, whilst bringing tourists and visitors to the town,’ the architects explain.

 

UPDATE: this project won the ‘civic and community – completed buildings’ category at the 2018 world architecture festival.

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood (main image by matt abbott)

 

 

CHROFI’s intervention helps free the locals from the narrow options of the main-street, offering an escape to the grass lawn with a view of the water. this collage of brick and wood does not ignore the human element. it’s not simply a passageway, but a destination itself, offering shade in the summertime, with places to relax and eat. it also includes a book lending and library feature, and can be easily turned into an outdoor cinema or theater in the evening. 

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

 

 

in-keeping with the preexisting architectural landscape, brick was chosen as the primary building finish to fully complement the existing materials and textures. these material choices add warmth, and feature handmade aspects that help the monolithic brick walls bend at unlikely angles — giving the material an unexpected and abstract quality.

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

maitland riverlink
image by matt abbott

maitland riverlink
image by matt abbott

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

maitland riverlink
image by simon wood

 

 

project info:

 

client: maitland council
program: public plaza, gateway structure, café, amenities
scale: 650 sqm
year: 2012 – 2018
design partner: mcgregor coxall
scope: design, documentation, site services
photography: simon wood, edge photography, matt abbott
team: SDA, city plan heritage, JBA, northrop, whipps-wood, WSP, morris goding, MBM
location: maitland, NSW, Australia