Green Square Station is the next station after Central heading south on the T2 Airport & South line. Unlike the other six lines, the T2 Airport and South line is privately owned. The owners and their designers obviously didn’t feel the need to integrate the aesthetics of the station with the other government owned lines.
The peculiar choices made in the design of the station are most conspicuous in the maps displayed in billboard form around the station. The city map looks like a game of Sim City. They’ve chosen a dusty-peachy orange as the dominant colour for land and azure for the harbour (parched yellow for the Botanic Gardens and other parkland).
The version of the city map available online has the same visual identity, with little icons for various buildings scattered across the map. Most are north-south along the Macquarie, Pitt, Castlereagh, George St axis. Some buildings are labeled, others are just icons. Citi Group Centre, Cancer Council, Wentworth Park and the Prince Alfred Park Building are among the outliers alongside more predicable icons: the Opera House, Exhibition and Entertainment Centres, SFS and SCG, Aquarium, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s and the Sydney Museum. A couple of anonymous churches litter the boundaries on Burke and Flinders St. Without names, these are a curious addition that I can only put down to redundant need to include some churchy looking icons of that kind.
Further curious additions can be discovered on the ‘Places of interest’ key which is featured on the Green Square Station Precinct Map, with Autohaus One, The Chirstmas Warehouse, Rent-a-Wreck giving a sense of the area that seems objective in its randomness. It certainly gives a good idea of what you’d expect to find in the area, though it’s hard to imagine it being of much use to anyone. It’s a shame not to see these buildings in 3-D profile like those on the City Map. The same orange is once again pervasive. Did the designers aim to portray Sydney in a colour palate suited to the red centre?
Otherwise the station has the look and feel of an airport, with large plastic panels in neutral colours and lots of white light. Large maps backed by the city skyline offer a continual reminder of other stations on the line, perhaps frequency and scale is an effort to substitute for quality.
The ticket gates are bizarrely placed and with the expected increase in passengers to the area a few more are desperately needed.
Outside, the building retains the same airport feel, with suspension roofing, plenty of vents and large plastic panels in matt grey. Here, against the striking, Sydney blue sky and sunshine, it seems more inviting. It doesn’t compete with the freshness and energy of the sky, and there’s a lightness to the building that suits the etherial aspirations of an airport line.
The public art definitely qualifies as ‘interesting’ rather than beautiful or sublime–leftover sandstone offcuts and metal?– and the benches that scatter the large open, paved area at the moment seem like wishfull thinking. When the massive Infinity building and town centre are finished maybe they’ll be hot property? Wedged in between Bourke, Botany and O’Riordan at this stage it is still very much a place of transit rather than lingering, evoking the feel of some areas of Canberra or the area outside a large stadium.
When you think about the character of stations like St James and Museum, which trade on their heritage value, and the similarly quaint old-worldness of the Federation style employed at Redfern and Erskineville, Green Square Station seems a sterile, impersonal and alienating place. No doubt if it is similarly well-preserved, its character will come. In the mean time, perhaps great feats of the imagination will provoked by the blandness and vacancy at its core?