Becoming Blacktown: A celebration of recent public projects

The Becoming Blacktown symposium, hosted at the Western Sydney University’s Engineering Innovation Hub in Parramatta, showcased nine recent architecture and urban design projects commissioned by Blacktown City Council. Design firms including Architectus, ARM, Carter Williamson, lahznimmo, Eoghan Lewis, CHROFI, JMD Design, McGregor Coxall, and Sam Crawford Architects, shared their contributions towards reimagining Blacktown’s urban landscape.

In the initial session, attendees were introduced to the Warrick Lane Plaza by McGregor Coxall, a recently completed civic space built over a new underground car park, the Blacktown Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC) by Sam Crawford Architects, undoubtedly the leading facility of its kind in Australia, and the Mount Druitt Town Centre, a collaborative effort by JMD and CHROFI, which offered a positive, small-scale urban intervention in a highly disadvantaged area. These projects stood out for their innovative solutions to social challenges including crime and safety, as well as environmental concerns like urban heat and biodiversity.

The subsequent session showcased projects such as the Blacktown Exercise and Sports Technology Hub (BEST) by ARM Architecture with Architectus, a first of its kind facility designed to enhance community health, and the Blacktown Showground Cafe and Community Garden Building by lahznimmo, which exemplifies a strong integration of architecture with the landscape. Additionally, presentations included the Kings Langley Cricket Pavilion by Eoghan Lewis and the Woodcroft Community Centre by Carter Williamson, both of which underscore the importance of responding to context.

The symposium underscored Blacktown City Council’s commitment to design excellence, led by the City Architect and Transformational Design department, particularly through the guidance of department head Bill Tsakalos. The body of work highlights the potential of internal design advocates within government to drive significant and high-quality urban transformation.

Becoming Blacktown not only showcased transformative projects within the Blacktown Local Government Area (LGA) but also emphasised the criticality of design excellence and landscape-responsive architecture in the creation of vibrant, sustainable urban spaces. The event was a testament to the collaborative efforts between Council, design practices, and educational institutions in shaping the future of Blacktown, and Western Sydney more broadly.