By the sweat of their brows

Sydney Water

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Facts

  • Client:
  • Completion:
    2010
  • Size:
    12,000m2
  • Architect:
    Bates Smart

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The recognition of the many men and women who were integral to the development of Sydney dating back to 1888 was an important story to be told. The people committed their lives building these impressive engineering accomplishments to supply the essence of life in this sometimes harsh and unforgiving land. Margo Beasley produced a book ‘By the sweat of their brows’ which inspired our work for Sydney Water, it’s a great read and really makes you think about all of the people involved over time.

The Potts Hill site has several buildings of historical significance, including the original pump house, screening chamber and surrounding facilities. Their heritage has been recognised throughout the main office building and in the warehouse office with the integration of imagery from an era that relied heavily on human labour. These environmental graphics greet people in the main reception and add a real sense of humanity and history to the site. The meeting rooms are adorned with old drawings of the pump house, schematics of the water flow system and old maps of the surrounding areas, all adding context and relevance for new and existing employees and visitors alike.

The Potts Hill complex is primarily for engineering field staff; the war hose stores general equipment and parts for distribution, and is a key component to the function of the Sydney Water public utility company. Potts Hill has supplied Sydney with its drinking Water for well over a hundred years, therefore it is of particular importance to the heritage of this public brand. The site contains the original screening chamber used to remove debris out of the upper canal. The first reservoir was built when the needs of Sydney’s population increased past the capacity of the canal during the day and was a significant engineering feat of its time. This was superseded by reservoir  number two which operates at about 70%, it had a relatively recent addition of a massive bladder which protects the water from contaminants and is made form a special material that has the best UV protection, another feat of ingenuity and innovation.

The meeting room names formed the basis of the wayfinding concept, each referenced a key component in the water supply system from the dams that feed into Potts Hill Reservoir and continue onto the smaller reservoirs throughout Sydney, that in turn distribute every last drop of Sydney’s water needs.

This collaboration produced a successful outcome for Sydney Water and is a welcome improvement of the facilities for the workforce at the site. Earlier this year Sydney Water were recognised at number 8 best places to work in the Dream Employers of 2010 national poll. BrandCulture won the prestigious 2012 Merit Award from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) for the innovative approach to heritage, environmental graphics and wayfinding for this complex facility.

The regeneration of the Potts Hill reservoir office and warehouse facility was the second environmental branding and wayfinding project BrandCulture undertook for Public utility company Sydney Water. BrandCulture collaborated with architects Bates Smart and Brookfield Multiplex to create an award winning environment. This environment followed on from the Sydney Water Parramatta Headquarters building, designed by Denton Corker Marshall and interiors by Woods Bagot.


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