The proposed lookouts offer a new visitor experience to the area of North Head, traditionally known as Car-rang gel, supporting the future identity of the precinct by responding to its rich history and establishing a world-class attraction that caters to both the local community and an international audience. To mitigate the risks of potential cliff falls and the damage caused by recent bushfires, the new viewing platforms have been relocated to better respond to the unique characteristics of the headland and provide a safer, more enjoyable viewing experience all year-round.
Two new viewing platforms are proposed; Yiningma to the North provides a vantage point to look back at the cliff face and breathtaking views to the horizon that are perfect for whale watching; Burragula to the South allows for panoramic views of Sydney harbour, creating the ideal spot for events like the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, or simply, to watch the sun go down.
Connecting with Country has been central to the design from the outset, ensuring that the viewing platforms acknowledge and connect with the history and stories of the place. Designed to merge comfortably with the landscape, they have been designed to express the durable and earthy materiality of the surrounding sandstone and vegetation. Stone pavers are used to line the pathways, knitting into the existing rock so the boundaries between built and natural forms are blurred. At each of the platforms, seats are carved out of solid stone and arranged to form a gathering place where ceremony, teaching and meetings may occur.
In addition to this, the shapes of the platforms trace the natural contours of the topography below and express local landforms, making visible the often lost or indiscernible patterns of the ground on which the visitor stands. These curves create a series of elevated “outcrops” – much like Sydney harbour – that float above natural ground to create places to gather and direct the visitor’s attention to specific outlooks. These features aim to enable a ‘reading’ of Country that emphasises a connection to place and an appreciation of the landscape. Only at this point, perched above the Tea Trees and Banksia Scrub, can one begin to comprehend the history, beauty, and vastness of the land that is Car-rang gel.