Darling Harbour has commissioned Kengo Kuma to design a new civic and creative center in Sydney - the Japanese practice's first Australian project. The 30-meter-tall, wood-clad "Darling Exchange" will rise six stories and provide space for a ground-floor market hall, library, childcare center, makerspace, and additional program for start-ups, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant.
“Our aim is to achieve architecture that is an open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognizable from multiple directions,” said Kuma.
"The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange."
The project will connect directly to a 2700-square-meter public "Darling Square," designed by Australian landscape firm Aspect Studios, which will serve as an "extension" to the building, according to BD Online. Both Darling Exchange and the Square are part of a $3.4 billion revitalization plan spearheaded by Lendlease that aims to transform the area into a vibrant community.
If approved, the project plans to open in 2018.