Elderly locals smiling for the camera as they enjoy a catch-up on brighlty coloured Pause Pods

Pause Pods: a place to pause, wonder, create and share

City of Canterbury-Bankstown

Bankstown Pause Pods

As the biggest town centre in the City of Canterbury-Bankstown, Bankstown CBD – known for its diverse population, with 55% of residents born overseas and its vast cultural mix of places to shop and buy food– is undergoing a huge period of change. As a result, it’s facing a number of challenges, including poor amenity and wayfinding, limited ‘staying places’ and safety issues – particularly for pedestrians and in the evening.

To address these challenges, in June 2018, the City of Canterbury-Bankstown awarded a Bankstown Urban Activations grant to Cred Consulting and RDO Architects to design and deliver temporary public seating in Bankstown Town Centre. We call these seating spaces ‘Pause Pods.’

Artist Tim Phibs’s intricate designs in Blue Lane


















So, what are the benefits of Pause Pods?

A place to pause

Cities are busy places. Sometimes, our streets become so focused on getting from one place to another that there is nowhere to stop and enjoy the street itself.

Pause Pods invite us to stop a while and be part of our community. By providing places to meet, socialise, gather and watch the world go by, they help to build local social and cultural capital.

Artist Brode Compton created vibrant visuals for pause pods situated along the bus bridge (right).

A place to wonder

Pause Pods are more than a place to sit, they are a process. Before any Pause Pod is installed, we ask local kids to imagine their city in the future.

Their thoughts are drawn onto their own miniature Pause Pod, which becomes a buried treasure, leaving people to wonder about what’s inside.

Each Pause Pod is wrapped with thoughts about the present moment and filled with ideas of our future.

Blue Lane is brought to life through the vibrant designs of artist Tim Phibs (left).  

A place to create

Pause Pods are bespoke crafted concrete masonry blocks that arrive as blank canvases, waiting to be covered with artworks by local artists in collaboration with community.

Pause Pods are created together with the community and continue to evolve from a concrete block to a bright and colourful canvas. Anyone can use a Pause Pod in any way they like: talk, dance, perform, watch.

Our vision is that they can also become a place to connect with each other and council to help create their dream city together.

Artist Tiera Boo led the Art Jam at Bankstown Arts Centre (image near right).


A place to share


With concrete blocks often used in public spaces as bollards which look cold, uninviting, or lost, Cred took the view that all objects in public spaces and streets should reflect the local character of the area, feel friendly and facilitate social and economic benefits.

Pause Pods can play an active role in encouraging community connection, sharing and engagement.

For example, our pilot project on the streets of Bankstown included street library and umbrella post pods, which are still in active use today.

Pause Pods are also programmable and can provide a space for local community programs or events.


Cities are busy places. We’re giving you a place to pause."

How we did it

We asked ourselves, ‘Where are the places to stop? Where are places of public creative expression? Where can people engage with each-other and the city?’

To address these questions, community engagement and involvement included:

  • 2x community ‘art jams’ to embellish the Pause Pods
  • a series of mini-activations held at the Pause Pods
  • a craft afternoon with local children at out-of-hours school care. Participants were asked to create mini paper models of the pause pods that captured their vision for future Bankstown. These models were collected from willing participants to be embedded into the concrete pause pod moulds – imbuing them with a ‘soul,’ so they’re not just lumps of concrete.


In partnership with the Bankstown Arts Centre, Cred selected a different artist for each of the five locations to animate the pods in a way that reflects the character and place identity of the centre. Two pods were painted during ‘art jams’ – mini live events, where the local community participated in the painting.

Strategic locations were chosen for Bankstown’s Pause Pods

Great design was a key feature in bringing the Pause Pods to life, with RDO Architect Rob Harper working closely with a manufacturing company to ensure their shape maximises human comfort through curved corners and chamfered edges – making them friendly (and safer) than your average square bollard.

Armed with life-sized cardboard models of the Pause Pods, Cred and RDO shortlisted a set of locations, testing distances and arrangements and selected strategic locations in collaboration with Council.


The Outcome

It has been four years since we installed the Pause Pods which can be found in five different locations in Bankstown, including at the Bankstown Arts Centre, on North Terrace, South Terrace and Chapel Street, providing a sense of delight for pedestrians’ as they journey through the CBD. We have had continuous positive feedback and updates about them being used by people of all ages to sit, meet, wait, chat, eat lunch, take a break and play.

The intervention is subtle and intimate, with a rich and meaningful result. It is affordable, adaptable and potentially ongoing, thanks to the re-paintable concrete surfaces – allowing Pause Pods to become a dynamic art installation for Bankstown’s streets.

The sketch below captures this evolution of a street as a moving place to a place which invites people to stop and pause.

The Pause Pods are playful, programmable and durable, and can be relocated as streets shift and change. They can also be rolled out in any town centre that is in need of some colour, activation and welcoming.

Council have plans to repaint the Pause Pods, using different artists, and to move them around the city as it continues its transformation into the future.

Footage of the Art Jam outside Bankstown Arts Centre

Artist Tiera Boo's Pause Pods liven the exterior of Bankstown Arts Centre
Pause Pods masterminds Rob Harper of RDO, and Cred's Associate Director, Elise O'Ryan
Pause Pods begin as a blank concrete canvas
Local children drawing colourful designs for Pause Pods
A collection of colourful designed paper mock-up of Pause Pods
Out-of-hours care school children decorated mini paper pause pods models as part of an activity to envision their future Bankstown
Community members took part in decorating new Pause Pods at the North Terrace Art Jam
Colourful designs on Pause Pods in-situ
Colourful community-designed Pause Pods within the streetscape
Tiera Boo's beautiful designs on Chapel Street
A close up of artist Tiera Boo's delicate designs
Community members of all ages participated in the Art Jam at North Terrace
Local artist Brode Compton of Blackbook Ink has 25 years experience creating graffiti art and street art murals, which can be seen around Bankstown.