Pandemic Memorial
David Cadena and Antoine Portier on behalf of Sadd

Space for Remembrance and Landscape Redemption

As a historical site of first contact, a place of immigration and a tourism destination, Sydney Cove (Circular Quay) acts as a key interface between Australia and the rest of the world. The isolated island continent rendering its inhabitants vulnerable to foreign diseases brought ashore.

A smallpox epidemic in 1789 believed to originate from the First Fleet’s arrival was responsible for the death of an estimated 70% of the aboriginal population in the Sydney region, who had no previous exposure to the virus.

On the 19th of March 2020, the 290m long cruise-ship “Ruby Princess” docked in the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at 11:00am, delivering 2700 passengers. About 662 people linked to the ship tested positive for COVID-19, comprising 10% of the infections in Australia at the time and triggering a pandemic.

The site of the OPT and its related cruise ship industry have become a symbol of the pandemic spread in Australia, a capitulation to private profit and interest over the public good. Our proposal aims to return this space to the public, ceasing this mass tourism activity and re-designing the shoreline (through interpretation of pre-settlement landscape), submerging the existing structure as a landscape memorial to the pandemic.

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