international

International firms flood Sydney

Jul 4, 2017
  • Article by Rob Hay

Big name international architectural firms are spearheading a number of large-scale developments slated to take place in Sydney over the coming years.

SANAA, 3XN and Foster + Partners have all been awarded contracts for major projects that look set to reinvigorate key areas of the city.

Perhaps the most transformative of these is the redevelopment of the Sydney Fish Market. Urban Growth New South Wales awarded the $250 million project to Danish architectural practice 3XN, along with local firms BVN and Aspect Studios, following a selection process that attracted registrations of interest from more than 60 design studios from both Australia and abroad.

While based in Copenhagen, 3XN already has strong ties to Sydney, having designed the 49-floor Quay Quarter tower for AMP Capital in 2014.

The render of the proposed Sydney Fish Market.
A render of the proposed Sydney Fish Market by 3XN.

UrbanGrowth NSW head of projects portfolio Barry Mann says the design brief was to rejuvenate the market and create a world class food and dining destination on the inner harbour that is dynamic, sustainable, and sympathetic to the local area. He credits 3XN’s experience designing award-winning and adaptable waterfront buildings for its success.

3XN Architects creative director and founding partner Kim Herforth Nielsen says the project is a major win for his company. “We are incredibly excited to be working with UrbanGrowth NSW and Sydney Fish Market to create not just an authentic fish market, but an iconic destination for Australia,” Nielsen says. “We place people at the centre of any architectural response, with an emphasis on place-making to foster a strong sense of community.”

A render of SANAA's proposed design for the Sydney Modern Project, which shares aesthetic similarities to other projects by the firm.
A render of SANAA’s proposed design for the Sydney Modern Project, which shares aesthetic similarities to other projects by the firm.

Not to be outdone, the Sydney Modern Art Gallery has secured the services of Pritzker Prize-winning firm SANAA to design an extension to its existing gallery. The Tokyo-based practice, which has worked in conjunction with the gallery for the past two years to evolve the design concept, boasts an impressive portfolio of public gallery work, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Louvre-Lens Museum in France and the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion.

The design concept, which has almost $350 million in funding, will continue to be refined until the planned submission of a State Significant Development Application, which is set to occur in the coming months. Major construction of the project will commence in 2019 with the expansion due for completion in 2021, in time for the 150th anniversary of the gallery’s founding.

Foster + Partners is the third big-name international firm to win a major contract in recent weeks, as the London-based practice is set to design what is being billed as Sydney’s tallest office block. Situated at 180 George Street, Circular Quay, the tower’s roof structure could be as high as 263-metres. The development also comprises a low-rise community building, a large public plaza fronting George Street and a secondary plaza on Rugby Place.

An artist impression of the proposed Foster + Partners tower in Circular Quay.
An artist impression of the proposed Foster + Partners tower in Circular Quay.

Developer Lendlease’s design brief stipulated a public and inviting building with open frontages, flexibility and a public roof terrace. Foster + Partners, which is known for a number of iconic buildings, including the Gherkin office tower in London, won the contract over a field of seven international and local architectural teams. A panel of six jury members assessed the submissions according to the City of Sydney’s Competitive Design Policy.

Lead image: 3XN’s Sydney Fish Market design, render courtesy architect.

Read more about Tokyo-based firm SAANA here.

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