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Above image: The Parramatta Square redevelopment will include office space, apartments, and civic facilities, render courtesy of Walker Corporation.
Four teams of internationally-renowned architectects will compete to design the community and civic space which will be the centrepiece of a $2 billion Parramatta Square renewal project.
The teams include a consortium of Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, DesignInc, and Lacoste + Stevenson, who will compete against Johnson Pilton Walker, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, and a partnership between SJB and Lahznimmo Architects.
The building will include council chambers, a “library of the future” which will function as a community hub, a customer service centre, community rooms, and space for functions.
Parramatta’s Lord Mayor Cr Paul Garrard has expressed the importance of pioneering architecture for the project.
“We want this development to be unique and spectacular – a building that will be recognised around the world and help to put Parramatta on the map,” he said.
The choice to engage leading architects in a competition works to reach the best of the best. Andrew Nimmo of Lahznimmo and Adam Haddow of SJB, who are teaming up together for their design, are eager about the project.
“It definitely makes it more exciting because it gives you an opportunity to really show what you can do, as opposed to just going off your credentials,” they said.
The “library of the future” is a significant aspect of the space, and with Lahznimmo having worked on a similar project on the Gold Coast, Nimmo and Haddow are passionate about the revitalisation that is occurring.
“A traditional library was basically originally a place to store books… It’s shifted away from that, and back to the person, so it’s about the experience of getting the information. Things you thought were important five years ago suddenly have changed, and in five years time they will change again. So, the need for flexibility in design is very, very important.”
The redevelopment of Parramatta Square is one of the largest renewal projects in the country. Alongside the community and civic space, it involves a 13-storey office tower designed by Architectus, along with commercial, retail, and residential buildings.
The Aspire tower, a mixed-use building which is part of the project, generated controversy last year when Sydney’s building height limit of 243 metres was removed to make way for its then 336 metres. https://www.australiandesignreview.com/architecture/57210-rethinking-height-limits-in-sydney
The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges on 15 March 2016.