Backstage

The Problem

Katoomba is rich with environmental beauty and it’s buildings hold valuable historical insights into how life was lived many decades ago. As it’s grown to be a popular tourist destination with the advent of Scenic World and the Three Sisters, Katoomba Street has become a bustling centre for the city.

This unfortunately has left other parts of the suburb have become neglected and forgotten. Many sites are under-utilised with little to no foot traffic, affecting businesses in those areas from making adequate sales and traction.

Within the bustling Katoomba Street.

Lurline Car Park

Our team was assigned Lurline Car Park, which is situated opposite the Kingsford Smith Memorial Park and next to the Metropole Hotel.

Exploration & Research

In order to understand the site we used several methods to observe, uncover and strategise the potential of Lurline Car Park.

INTERVIEWS

We valued the insights of speaking to different people within the community. By consulting the neighbouring businesses like The Avalon restaurant and The Metropole Hotel we learnt how the site was used currently. We also encountered a road block with the fact that the site could not be renovated, according to the town planner as the site itself is heritage listed.

We also went to the main street of Katoomba to ask the locals what they wanted to see happen within Katoomba in general. This gave an overall insight into what activities people valued and greatly informed our final proposal.

KEY INSIGHTS

  • Locals wanted a space they could own, they felt the local council favoured and created sites for the tourists.
  • People don’t stay long onsite, they simply park their cars and leave.
  • The Savoy Theatre behind the site remains an empty shell of what it once was.

CHALLENGES

  • Half of the car park was owned by the Metropole Hotel.
  • Permanent changes cannot be made as it is heritage listed.
  • There’s not much foot traffic due to its secluded location.
  • Lack of night lighting and steepness of the driveway makes it uninviting.

The Solution: Backstage

The final proposal was ‘Backstage’, a multi-functional space of entertainment, made by the locals, for the locals. The entertainment space pays homage to the history of the Savoy Theatre and compliments the indoor events The Metropole already hosts. Meanwhile the temporary and portable nature of Backstage satisfies the limitations that come with the site being heritage listed.

With a seasonal calendar of various events hosted by different local groups, the site would host food trucks by day, live concerts in the afternoon and by evening an outdoor movie theatre. Likewise during festival time the site serves an extension of the vibrant Katoomba Street. There’s a flexibility that caters to the Metropole’s needs when parking is required, and helps to bring traffic to the hotel.

The Outcome

Backstage was presented to the locals in Katoomba. The proposal was met with positive feedback. A local who lived on Lurline Street had praised the idea. He mentioned that there had previously been a successful pop-up event held there and could feasibly see Backstage happening.

OVERVIEWBackstage is an opportunity to reinvigorate Katoomba’s under utilised spaces, in particular Lurline Car Park.
DATEJan 2016
SECTORTourism & entertainment
CLIENTBlue Mountains Local Council
TEAMJack Tsang, Jade Hon-Mong, Justin Xu, Sophia Chrysanthos & Mai Lam
MY ROLEUser research, prototyping, testing & visual design