Built in the 19th century, the Goods Line railway used to transport important Australian commodities such as coal, wheat, and timber until the rail line was shuttered in the 1980s. Rather than tear the elevated rail down, the Sydney Harbor Foreshore Authority commissioned ASPECT Studios and CHROFI for an adaptive reuse project that turned rail infrastructure into social infrastructure.
ASPECT Studios responded with a two-phase urban oasis—the Goods Line North and Goods Line South—that covers a total of 500 meters. While the Goods Line can’t compete in length or height with the taller 2-kilometer-long New York High Line, it does offer greater programming that includes ping-pong tables, shaded study nooks, WiFi access, and even a 20-person co-working space with outlets. Bicyclists are even allowed to traverse the Goods Line.
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The new pedestrian and cycle corridor stretches from Railway Square and Ultimo to Darling Harbour, connecting more than 80,000 tertiary students, locals, and visitors to major attractions and views such as those of Frank Gehry’s UTS Dr. Chau Chak Wing, a famous building oft-likened to a crumpled paper bag. “What was once a conduit for trade has been reinterpreted to carry the precious cargo of a thriving neighbourhood: culture, creativity and community,” says The Goods Line project lead designer and ASPECT Studios director, Sacha Coles.
The Goods Line North was completed last year and runs from the Ultimo Road rail under bridge to the end of Macarthur Street. The Goods Line South is currently under development and will connect the existing section through to Railway Square. The Goods Line project received an Australia Award for Urban Design in 2014.
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Images via ASPECT Studios, pictures by Florian Groehn