Light Line Social Square


Light Line Social Square

Light Line Social Square - Project

Light Line Social Square is the line-wide artwork for the 8 Metro North West stations from Cherrybook to Tallawong. The artwork is embedded in the design of each station. It is made up of artful landscapes, sculptural furniture, coloured glazing in skylight lanterns, facades, lifts, stairs and escalators, train activated platform lighting, glazed tiled walls, playful paving and cooling mist installations. The artwork draws upon the recent agricultural history of the region. The geometry of the orchard groves, and the colours of their fresh produce, are translated into the grid of the station landscapes, and the signature colour at each station. In this way, Light Line Social Square references the past and connects it to the present and the future. The artwork orchestrates an interplay of colour and light, expressed over time. It is immersive and dynamic - continuously changing throughout the day, according to the light and weather conditions, and over the seasons, across the year.

Light Line Social Square - Elements

The artful landscapes of the Urban Groves remember the distinctive geometry of the region’s historic orchards. The beauty of the agricultural order resonant within the bushland setting is ‘reconstructed’ in the 8 station Urban Groves framed by trees indigenous to the Hills and Cumberland Plain. The grid of the orchard becomes the grid of the grove, thus embedding memory and legibility into the geometry and scale of the station landscape. The trees and understory plants are chosen for their colour, creating a diaphanous and seasonal layer to each station’s colour identity. Ephemeral Cloud Room mist installations cool the groves at Kellyville and Rouse Hill in summer heat, and playful hopscotch motifs are embedded in the paving design of all station plazas.

The Social Spheres are a suite of sculptural furniture elements punctuating the 8 station plazas. Richly coloured cast aluminium plates are inlaid into spherical or cylindrical concrete forms. There are 5 types, each with a pattern that references the regions historical orchards including a citrus flower, fruit, tree and field. The Social Spheres are playfully arranged within the Urban Groves - as if fruit fallen from a tree. They offer places for respite and gathering, and give sculptural expression, at a human scale, to the welcoming experience of the station plaza ‘Social Squares’.

The Terrace Lines are richly glazed ceramic tiles inlayed in intermittent lines along the length of the retaining walls at Cherrybrook, Bella Vista and Tallawong. They reinforce the colour and rhythm of the terraced Urban Grove landscapes that frame these open-cut station platforms. Beneath the pedestrian bridges, the tiles coalesce as a moment of rich saturated colour at the heart of the platform. The tiles reference the tradition of Sydney railway brickwork, and art and design in railway stations internationally.

The transparent coloured glazing of the escalator, lift and stairs, make up the Colourways element, which is a signature line-wide element at the 8 stations. The jewel-like transparent colour, and its accompanying, and everchanging, cast light, frames the transition from street, to plaza, to concourse, to platform - guiding the passenger’s journey. From dusk to dawn, and from summer to winter, the Colourways, along with the Skylight Lanterns and Light Screen glazed facades, highlight our experience of diurnal and seasonal time.

The Skylight Lanterns are illuminating and illuminated sculptural elements within the landscaped plazas above, and the high ceilings of the grand concourse spaces below, in the underground stations of Castle Hill, Hills Showground and Norwest. They fuse art, science, architecture, engineering, landscape and lighting. The skylights mediate inside and outside, above and below, and manifest the interplay of natural and artificial light, as day transitions into night.

The Light Screen glazed facades at the elevated station of Kellyville and Rouse Hill, give monumental scale to Light Line Social Square’s ‘palette’ of light, colour & time in their grand concourse spaces. Each facade has 2 colours - the predominant station colour, interspersed with the oncoming station colour. Sunlight casts lines of coloured light across station surfaces in a twice-daily solar ‘performance’. At night, the screens glow as urban-scaled stained-glass windows.

Finally, Light Line is a line-wide illuminated artwork installed along the length of each side of each platform. It is a visual barometer of network time, marking train arrival and departure, presence and absence. Light Line underscores the cumulative experience of Light Line Social Square’s multiple, orchestrated art elements. In the same way as the Light Screens, each side of the platform comprises the colour of the station, and the colour of the ensuing station in the direction of travel. In this way, the platform-long, network-wide, kinetic, illuminated, coloured thread stitches together the 8 new stations of Sydney’s new Metro North West.

Metro North West stations: Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Hills Showground, Norwest, Bella Vista, Kellyville, Rouse Hill and Tallawong
Transparent coloured glass, cast aluminium, concrete, glazed tiles, paving, mist, LED light, trees and flowering plants.
Eight stations and public plazas
Hassell on behalf of CPB John Holland as part of Northwest Rapid Transit

Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design, NSW Architecture Awards 2020

Commendation for Public Architecture, NSW Architecture Awards 2020.


Peter McGregor (McGregor Westlake Architecture) and Hassell.


Artists: Michaelie Crawford, Turpin Crawford Studio and Peter McGregor, McGregor Westlake Architecture in collaboration with Ross de la Motte and the Hassell design team. Turpin Crawford Studio team: Jennifer Turpin, Anna Ewald-Rice, Rupert Trengrove; McGregor Westlake team: Wes Grunsell, Tina Chow, Isabella Spiedel, Alex Rink; Deuce Design: Bruce Slorach, Ingrid van der Meulen; Event Engineering: Jeremy sparks, Konrad Hartmann; Fiona Robbe Landscape Architects; Waterforms International; Dirk Slotboom, Michael Sallis

photo and video credits
Brett Boardman Photography; Ian Hobbs Media; Rusty Goat Media; Mark Syke Photography