Inverted Spire is a proposal for a light installation that reinterprets the unbuilt spire of Sydney's historic Garrison Church in an ephemeral architectural work made of fabric, steel cabling, standard scaffolding and LED lighting.

The front entry of the church building is “extended” to create the footprint of the spire and tower design as it appears in the architectural drawings from the 1850s. The base of the spire is formed using scaffolding, clad in building wrap printed with a large hand drawn image showing at 1:1 scale the materiality and articulation of the originally intended design. This element is back lit.

Door openings on the East / West axis are cut into the fabric, allowing participants to enter the space created by the structure. Instead of rising upwards, the reinterpreted spire is inverted, dropping into the interior of the installation structure by way of a steel cable structure. Made from laser-cut weather-proof fabric, the spire is lit from within using 16 very narrow beam warm white LED fittings. This allows the laser-cut patterning of the imagined roof texture and original details to be highlighted both within the structure and when viewed through the external skin of the building wrap.

Adding to the effect of the ethereal spire, musical soundscapes are part of the envisaged work. A single musician, or small groups of musicians from the Sydney Youth Orchestra’s Sydney Wind Orchestra would stand at the thresholds of the church, to perform at regular intervals.

This installation creates a new threshold for the church, an immersive temporary architectural extension that reinterprets the historic potential of the original church design. It also restates the intent of the spire – not to mark out the skyline but now instead to point to the community, to the specifics of place. 

The Garrison Church was originally designed by Henry Ginn with spire design by Edmund Blacket in the 1850s.

Inverted Spire is a proposal for VIVID Sydney 2016.