past forward: the uncertain future of homebush theatre




Sited prominently on Parramatta Road, the abandoned Homebush Theatre is a reflection of the derelict condition of its undesirable surroundings. Its long history of uses - ranging from a respected cinema in the 1920s to an unsuccessful ice-skating rink in the 1980s – exhibits its dependence on the state of Parramatta Road.

With an understanding of numerous proposed developments of Parramatta Road, ‘Past Forward’ responds to a state of flux and provides a catalyst for change. Through embracing Parramatta Road for what it is, the proposal creates both public and private spaces that animates current conditions and welcomes an uncertain future.

The program is divided into two – permanent affordable housing and transient public use. With an understanding of the growing need for affordable housing and easy access to Sydney’s CBDs, the majority of the site is dedicated to housing key workers and the working poor. The frontage of the existing façade is continued across the site with a living ‘wall’, creating a private open space detached from Parramatta Road.

The cinema is split internally, serving both as a communal space for the residents in the back and publicly accessible space on Parramatta Road. The public portion of the cinema is re-purposed for its current context - a private rooftop day care, a secret brothel and a live music venue.

As the future of Parramatta Road is under much contention, Past Forward seeks to reactivate Parramatta Road through the creation of uses that embrace the current conditions and receives future change.

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design rationale




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accepting parramatta road








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an uncertain future