Architecture - Honours

The Sixth Estate

The Sixth Estate seeks to reactivate the key principles of democracy in Queensland through engagement, tension, and action. Each space deliberately evokes the typologies of the original public forums of Greek architecture. The theatre, pavilion, amphitheatre, courtyard, and colonnades all represent civic spaces to express, share and debate ones’ opinions and emotions for communal change. These spaces incite citizens to ardently engage with democracy in a reinvigorated method.

The sixth estate

The current state of Queensland politics is polarizing and divisive. The system hinges on uninformed decisions made by both citizens and government, political focus on populist topics, and most problematic of all: a corrupt system. However, the critique should not solely fall on politicians or the voters, however the system that has upheld this disillusionment. This structure has evolved into an environment of political short-termism, mass-market media models and a propensity towards temporary solutions rather than long term strategies. It is the absence of a legislative council combined with contemporary pressures that create Queensland’s disorganised political climate. This current state of democracy must be restructured to ensure long term beneficial results of our society as we know it.

The Sixth Estate provides multiple forums of discussion and debate between settings of inside and outside, garden and city, speaker and listener. The proposal is seen as poetic response: a shining crystal laying atop the ruins of a crumbling structure, reclaimed by nature. This signifies a revolutionised approach towards democracy replacing the archaic, dilapidated state of democracy. The spatial experience of the project strategically allows citizens to both gain and knowledge with other citizens and politicians. Colonnades welcome visitors into leafy courtyards for individuals or gatherings. Amongst the canopy the yarning circle is central to these courtyards. Discussions and stories will be shared, even before entering the building. Within the sunken lobby, the media centre allows visitors to gain knowledge of world news and a different perspective before ascending into the Debate Chamber. Visitors enter this grand space which host People’s Senate discussions, events and debates. From this space, visitors congregate into the People Senate lounge to share insight with People’s Senate staff. The voting centre is situated on the second floor, where a new democratic system allows citizens to enact constitutional change. The Sixth Estate facilitates a dynamic civic experience for citizens to actively participate in progressing the state of democracy.

Action must be made, beginning with how citizens and politicians interact with the spaces they cast their decisions in. The disconnect between civic workers and citizens has reached unprecedented limits, due to the architecture that has long maintained this barrier. Democratic architecture of today is like impenetrable fortresses that shelter politicians from the public. The sporadic occurrence of political participation happens during election season, then citizens conveniently compartmentalize their political activity. The key solution to this is to revolutionise democratic architecture. Democracy of today needs to be transparent, inclusive, and easily accessible for citizens to feel empowered to engage with decision making. These qualities likewise need to be transferred into democratic civic spaces. The progression of society requires civic spaces that are both sympathetic and contentious to reactivate democracy.

Flynn Hodgson

Flynn has completed his Honours Undergraduate study in 2021 and wishes to study a Masters of Architecture in the near future. Flynn hopes to fulfill a career in residential architecture and bridge the gap between art and architecture through exploration and experimentation.