The following proposal evolved from a university project and was constrained by a practical brief of specific commercial expectations and standardized planning controls. The proposal however extends beyond such limitations to understand the larger issues and current public concerns of Sydney’s development. The Sydney CBD is infiltrated with issues:
Sydney Lacks fine grain, it has generic and loose planning controls, a lack of winter sunlight, uncomfortable wind tunnels and a failed transportation system. Sydney has a low focus on livability, creativity and public culture additionally there is no opportunity for derive.
It is these issues rather than the practical brief which has driven the commercial project. The proposal was created over a 12 week period.
The site is surrounded by heritage buildings and strong stone facades the building is placed as an object within the formal Sydney square.
The oval shaped object responds to downdrafts and wind tunnelling issues while exuding beauty in design.
Martin Place, located to the South and Chifley Plaza located to the North are currently not connected. The primary function of Martin Place is that of a transitory element, while the arrangement of Chifley Plaza is introverted.
The proposal seeks to physically and visually connect the two sites. To do so the building is lifted off the ground to provide access to the public, creating a hub of interaction between the two spaces.
This seeks to directly address the issue of public culture allowing people to derive and connect without feeling isolated in the process.
Currently it is impossible to have a continual transition between Martin Place and Chifley Plaza. The proposal allows pedestrian access throughout the whole site; the placement of the building is about the connection of public spaces and pedestrian amenities.
The movement and direction of traffic in the area between Martin Place and Chifley plaza is redistributed and reduced in order to allow the site to function with continual pedestrian movements.
Fine Grain consisting of retail, public and commercial activities are situated directly underneath Phillip Street. To naturally extend the site I redeveloped Chifley Plaza as the primary custodian.
Naturally public space needs convenient access to public transport. In the proposal the failure of the public transportation system and seek to create friendlier public zones is recognized. The proposal responds by providing connection and opportunity for cycling and walking tracks within the city.
Since there is currently no access to winter sun the building has been pulled forward, closer to Martin Place while reducing the size of the building. With less than half of the current mass Chifley Plaza and the site will receive full winter sun access.
With current expansive views to some of Sydney’s best landmarks the core of the building is detached from the floor plate to maximize on those views, the most prominent being the Sydney Harbour. The Core and Floor plates are expressed as separate objects. The building orientation and location of the core also seeks to maximize both sunlight penetration and provides shading to the Western facade.
In order to help natural ventilation both winter garden and atrium spaces are positioned to the North and South of the floorplate to make the most of Sydney’s climate. Approx 20% of the volume is naturally ventilated.
At the ground level the site functions as both a temporal and formal civic square. Other aspects of the ground floor incorporate cafes, temporary art/gallery spaces, restaurants, Channel 7 studios, commercial and retail hubs. It is both specific and responsive.
The commercial floorplate is around 1650m2, it is flexible and functions well in both open plan and enclosed plan arrangements. The building has an overall efficiency of 83% NLA/GFA, and 93% efficient NLA/FSA.
The building incorporates a structural diagrid which reinforces the built geometry. Most of the required columns are moved to the exterior of the floor plate to optimise NLA and internal quality of space. The Internal column loads are transferred to the diagrid at the mid rise and low rise plant levels this opens up the ground plane significantly and provides a more elegant solution.
The panalisation of external glazing is inline with the diagrid structure. Vertical and horizontal shading is in-line with the exterior mullions. The structural diagrid is 20% more efficient than a typical construction and the shape of the building is 8% more efficient than a rectangle.. The structure and facade are highly integrated visually. The lightness of the structure allows the floor plates to appear as light and elegant as possible. The up tuned edge beam allow high floor to ceiling heights which maximize useful daylight penetration and external views.
The facade is designed to be both efficient, elegant and sustainable. The building uses the double cavity between the structural diagrid to provide a fixed shading solution; the shading consists of primarily vertical, combination and primarily horizontal shading structures. The shading structure also acts as a light shelf to extend light into the floor plate. The double cavity is naturally ventilated to act as a climate buffer between the interior and exterior.
The project functions firstly to the larger issues of Sydney and secondly to commercial expectations, in-turn the commercial outcome is non-generic and highly responsive to the local context.