86223 Fashion Art Cultural Centre (FACC)

Fashion Art Cultural Centre (FACC)



Kultur = Kapital



Nothing bridges the gap between art and money like fashion. Fashion is everywhere and for everyone. It is both democratic and despotic. Fashion shows have become big business and theatrical happenings. Fashion Designers are rock stars and define culture. Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake, Vivien Westwood are household names and arguably more recognisable than starchitects like Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry. If Sydney lacks an institution it is one that celebrates fashion as an art form and as a powerful generator and mover of capital. Sydney needs a Fondazione Prada – a local version of the Milan-based cultural institution that provides a gallery setting for fashion design.


The Sydney Fondazione Prada, or the Fashion Art Cultural Centre, is an opportunity to explore a new typology within the cultural facility genre which includes museums, theatres, libraries and the like, as well as place making. The Fondazione Prada in Milan by OMA (Rem Koolhaas), as the generator of this exploration, points the way to a new urban approach to cultural facilities. Commerce or retail is as important as “art as a vital binding agent of civilization”(1).


“The integration of urban culture and global capital is at a high point, packaged in the idea of ‘attractiveness’ central to the ‘world-class’ city concept. As a result of these synergies of place marketing, we can observe the production of typologies of urban space where cultural consumption (an essentially aesthetic dividend) is central to its financial value. The intangible currencies of ‘uniqueness’ and ‘authenticity’ multiply the overall brand value of places in the mind of those engineering them.” (2)



Fashion Art Cultural Centre (FACC)

There is no NIDA or Sydney Theatre Company for the fashion industry to continuously showcase its products, provide a space for artistic collaboration, or establish a larger cultural and artistic context to situate the work and process of the fashion industry. Sydney needs a blackbox space for fashion shows and exhibitions which can be changed and manipulated by designers to showcase the work of established brands as well as incubated and new ones.


When culture and art materialises into the contemporary city we must not just ask ‘what art?’ or ‘what culture?’, but also ‘what city?’ and crucially ‘for whom?’ (2)



The site will be the Domain Car Park on the eastern edge the Sydney CBD. The car park is topped by playing fields that blend into the landscape of the Domain and Botanical Gardens. Sitting between St Mary’s Cathedral to the south and the Art Gallery of New South Wales to the north, the site is the tension between the temporal and the spiritual centres of the city. A tension that is resolved in the very Australian pursuit of sport and the motor car. The eastern edge of the site is dominated by the bunker like façade of the car park that addresses Sir John Young Crescent – a busy road that feeds traffic into the Harbour Tunnel and the M1 motorway.





(1) Tim Abrahams, “Artist’s Gild” (OMA’s Fondazione Prada in Milan), Architectural Review, September 2015, p98.

(2) Alberto Duman, “Beauty and the Beast: capital forces and cultural production”, Architectural Review, April 2014.