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Public Art

You Are Here

You Are Here

You Are Here, an artwork created by the collective Cave Urban, celebrates the Parramatta River and the forces of nature that shaped it.

Project Leads: Juan Pablo Pinto and Lachy Brown

Cave Urban is a multidisciplinary design studio formed by artists, architects, and sculptors. Founded in 2010 to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design, Cave Urban has developed into a practice that explores the intersection between art and architecture.

The Parramatta River extends from here into Sydney Harbour and out to the Heads. This river has flowed for millions of years and sustained First Nations people for millennia. You Are Here, presents this life source as a void between two massive steel monoliths, seemingly torn apart long ago by powerful earthly forces. Its layered geology alludes to the river’s enduring presence, a presence which has drastically changed in recent times.

The 4.5m high sculpture was commissioned by the City of Parramatta and is situated in the entry forecourt of the Parramatta Aquatic Centre. The artists worked with Eveleigh Works to bring their vision to life. Drawing on the artists’ practice of using natural, local, and recycled materials the artwork was form in a foundry into 12 sections that were assembled on site over one day.



  • 13 tonnes of recycled flat bar steel
  • 4 blacksmiths working to create the artwork in the foundry
  • 12 sections assembled onsite over one day
  • The sections were sandblasted to encourage the rust patina to develop quickly
  • Each section was shaped as it was welded to evoke the Parramatta River cut out of the assembled steel sculpture
  • The corrosion rate of mild structural steel exposed to different environments was calculated using a C5 (worst case) scenario of 0.2mm per year, for an estimated material loss of approximately 10mm over 50 years. The wall thickness of the sculpture varies between 25mm-50mm, offering enough tolerance to guarantee a lifespan of 50+ years.
  • The sculpture is composed of two 4m tall mild steel blocks. Each with a central stainless-steel column connected to the foundation slab.
  • During installation, each section was craned into position over an internal galvanised steel frame and welded together on site.
  • The artwork encourages an immersive experience with a misting effect that run intermittently through the day.
  • The artwork took 1500 hours to weld in the foundry.
  • Once installed, the artwork took two weeks to develop its initial rust patina and continues to evolve and develop over time.
  • A full-scale template was made for each of the two segments that form the artwork.
  • Each steel bar was cut to length and welded to form the overall external shape and internal void of the Parramatta River. 


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You Are Here, by Cave Urban 2023. Daytime Experience. Medium: recycled rusted steel, misting and lighting.
Image Credit. Joel Hamilton Foster, City of Parramatta

The Artist behind You Are Here

Cave Urban
  • Cave Urban is a multidisciplinary design studio formed by artists, architects, and sculptors. Founded in 2010 to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design, Cave Urban has developed into a practice that explores the intersection between art and architecture. The studio prioritizes collaboration, community engagement and the utilization of natural, local, and recycled materials as key components of any project.

  • Deep Time refers to the time scale of geologic events, which is infinitely greater than the time scale of human lives. Appreciation of deep time as equal to 4.6 billion years helps us to define the limits of human activity and provides a context for our understanding of the extraordinary deep history of the Australian continent. Rocks, water, sediments, wind, and pressure have impacted each other over millions of years, and the ‘deep memories’ they hold help us to understand climate dynamics over time as they shape the land and the lives of those living there.

    Deep Time invited Artists to explore people’s lived experience of the landscape and environment of Mays Hill where the Parramatta Aquatic Centre is located. Artists explored how we experience the physical landscape, how we respond to change as a continuum, and what is our relationship to an environment which is capable of both rapid and unhurried change? A work based on the Deep Time theme will explore a connection and belonging, and the idea of respite, renewal, resilience and reclaim in urban, rural, and natural environments, of which Mays Hill has been all three.

    An understanding of, and connection to the architectural vision for the Parramatta Aquatic Centre was crucial, with reference to the architecture which minimises the building footprint by locating the Aquatic Centre within the topography. 

  • A four-metre-high monolith of layered, recycled rusting steel looks to have been made by immense forces of nature. From the front, the torn edges of the two dislocated forms describe the shape of the Parramatta River from source to sea, widening as it moves vertically through a geology of sedimentary layers representing deep time. 

    The giant textured slabs are tilted back and forth like the shifting tectonic plates that reshaped the eastern seaboard 60 million years ago. Moving around the sculpture, the space between these forms’ shifts, alluding to the fluidity of ecological change – from daily tidal shifts to vast movements in geology and climate.

    This work pays homage to the extraordinary history and life of a river that flows today and acknowledging its crucial role in sustaining humanity over 60,000 years. Some 20,000 years ago First Australians witnessed a time of life when Sydney Harbour did not exist, and the Parramatta River flowed unimpeded through its valley to a shore many kilometres east of the current coastline.

    A fine atomising mist billowing around the base of the sculpture alludes to the primordial – a time when the river carved out geologies, shifted by immense geomorphic forces. Referencing a phrase commonly used in maps and directories, You Are Here, prompts viewers to reflect on their impact to local ecologies in a rapidly deteriorating natural world and what we can do about it in our time, while we are here.

    Juan Pablo Pinto and Lachy Brown, Cave Urban, 2023. 

  • The largest and most technologically advanced workshop in the southern hemisphere, Eveleigh was opened in 1887 by the NSW government for the maintenance and manufacture of steam locomotives. The two blacksmithing bays now inhabited by Eveleigh Works are the only intact operating bays remaining.

    Eveleigh Works use a large portion of the blacksmithing equipment at Eveleigh, which is considered "the largest and most integral collection of Victorian blacksmithing equipment, in terms of integrity and extent known in the western world," according to the Smithsonian Institute.

    Eveleigh Works operates a functional foundry using much of the Victorian equipment on site as well as running blacksmithing courses and corporate team building events.

  • *Information to come

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