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Un-built: 383 George Street

April 19, 2011

PTW Architects’ proposed design for this complex George Street site in Sydney’s CBD will fuse heritage elements and contemporary design.

In June 2010, PTW Architects won a limited competition among five Australian practices for a complex mixed-used project in the heart of Sydney’s central business and retail district. A development application was lodged in December 2010 and has just been approved by Sydney City Council.

On a complex consolidated site within Sydney’s CBD, the project is positioned between two heritage buildings on George Street and occupies the depth of a city block. The project also includes the restoration of two heritage listed buildings on the site, facing York Street.

The new podium on George Street will connect through most of the floors on the rear heritage buildings, creating a large contiguous retail floor. A pedestrian link adapting a historic cart-lane between the heritage buildings will link the two streets and also serve as the entry to commercial office floors on 12 floors above the podium and heritage buildings, with the core slotted into the centre of the site – with minimal impact on the heritage fabric.

Within the rich context of recent CBD projects and historic buildings, the architectural language of the building focuses on simplicity and the repeated use of detail component, unique to the individual components of the project.

The retail podium façade relates to the adjacent heritage buildings in both height and proportion, with sloped window boxes set within a slender framework of structure. A large horizontal recess separates the commercial tower level above. Here, the curtain wall is a ‘saw-tooth’ system with angled panes and deep mullions in every 1.5m bay, and more solid precast concrete panels on the side elevations.

The restoration of the heritage buildings on York Street concentrates on peeling back layers to the historically relevant fabric and carefully detailing contemporary insertions. Above the heritage buildings, the office floors are built as a lightweight steel box supported by a long-span steel truss to minimise the impact on the historic buildings below. The main façade uses a random pattern of solid precast elements and glazed panels with proportional reference to the masonry facades below.

*Team* Architects: Andrew Andersons, Sven Ollmann, Niall Durney, Anne Ng; Designers: Sven Ollmann, Niall Durney

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