SOM and Fender Katsalidis have won an international design competition for Central Place Sydney, a commercial development that will introduce new transformative public space and high-tech towers. Located in Sydney's Central Business District, Australia, the proposed project seeks to transform the western edge by introducing innovative buildings and public realm improvements.
In line with the City of Sydney's plan to create a third new major civic square, Central Place Sydney is the focal point for the Tech Central district and civic space. A partnership between Dexus and Frasers Property Australia, the plan was designed by international firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Fender Katsalidis Architects, a multi-disciplinary design office based in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Enhancing the southern gateway to the CBD, connections between neighboring communities, and the city's commercial axis, the winning proposal will revitalize and reconnect the targeted area to the city.
Featuring “two commercial towers, 37 and 39 stories tall, woven together by a low-rise building anchoring the development and enlivening the precinct at street level”, Central Place Sydney will encompass approximately 150,000 square meters of office and retail space. With nature at the core of the design, the commercial development aims to become one of the most sustainable projects in Australia, defined by its contribution to the city, new civic plaza, and sculptural office towers.
The central building, “a dynamic urban form that shapes the precinct's identity”, ascends in a series of staggered tiers, opening up garden terraces and views at each level, and responding to the scale and materiality of the existing surroundings. On that note, Mark Curzon, Fender Katsalidis Architects Design Director states that “the sculptural towers are shaped by the movement and civic connections at ground level and extend vertically into a ‘fine-grained’ skyline, orientated to address key vistas in a gateway configuration”.
In order to have less visual density, the two towers are expressed as three individual forms. With distinct yet compatible shapes, each building retains its own identity in terms of height, scale, articulation, and materiality. In addition, these interventions are shaped to mitigate wind forces and admit natural light, while the computer-controlled facade shades the interiors from direct sunlight and reduces heat gain.
Regarding the designed open spaces, the landscape is created in a way that allows pedestrians to flow efficiently through and within the project. In fact, each floor in the towers is conceived as a unique "neighborhood," connected by winter gardens, mixed-mode environments, light-filled atria, and outdoor terraces. Moreover, the workspaces are highly flexible, to accommodate constantly evolving technology companies.