The Rocks Laneway in WA is a city-to-foreshore pathway incorporating laneways, streets and the original ‘Rocks’ store, adapted to accommodate a new pedestrian lane and events space adjacent to the waterfront. Through retention of existing features, historical interpretation and creative expression, it sets a new precedent for regional infrastructure and urban renewal investment.
The Rocks project is a city-to-foreshore pathway incorporating existing laneways, streets, and the original "Rocks" store. The path traces a pedestrian link joining the noted regional gallery "GRAG" to the city foreshore.
The tracing of the pathway uncovered some extraordinary and almost lost histories. We found that a strange urban square on Marine Terrace, located opposite the site of the Rocks building, was also the site of a handsome but long demolished post office.
The brief was to refashion the Rocks building - a Victorian shop - to accommodate community activities and create a new pedestrian link to the redeveloped waterfront.
After preliminary conceptual work and budgeting, the City approved an expanded brief that incorporated a meta-graphic art installation across the length of "the walk" and a steel framed pavilion (or "Ghost Office") on the site of the old town post office building.
Through a series of simple moves the project has achieved the project brief and provided the City with a new, legible, and diverse connection. However, it has also provided: a formal events space, an informal gathering space, a new community centre, a new town square, new urban greenery, a laneway gallery, an 'insta-moment', and a historical interpretation sculpture.
The Rocks demonstrates the capacity of older regional town centres for significant urban renewal and creative adaptation for the benefit of its community and the local economy.
Achieving these project outcomes was possible due to a truly collaborative approach by the City of Greater Geraldton, the design team, and the wider Geraldton community. The project is an exemplar for how significant impact can be made on a City centre within the constraints of a moderate budget.
The Rocks project is a subtle but exemplary demonstration of light touch adaptation, intervention and sustainable development. The scope of the project includes a 400m long path linking the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery to the city's beautifully redeveloped foreshore. It utilises minimal architectural, landscape and artistic interventions to transform an important pathway and tourism link in the city.
The primary and minimal elements of the works include:
- The application of a painted meta-graphic mural to predominantly existing materials and surfaces across the 400m length of the Rocks walk
- A new, minimalist framed arbour structure (the "Ghost House") that reinstates the old Post Office in abstracted form
- The adaptive re-use of the original Rocks shop in Marine Terrace incorporating recycled floorboards to the new bathroom pod, recycled pressed tin linings, roof openings and skylights to facilitate green landscape insertions and integrated timber bench seating for pop-up entertainment events