Sydney's new darling

Wednesday 16 Nov 2011

Anew connection between the east and west of Sydney from fjmt

Darling Quarter is a 1.5-hectare precinct incorporating Commonwealth Bank Place, a new playground, children's theatre, retail terrace and public park. This innovative public precinct includes a new east-west civic connector, linking Darling Harbour to the City, a north-south pedestrian boulevard along the western edges of the buildings with outdoor dining spaces for the retail tenancies and designated circulation pathways, a children's theatre, open turf areas adjacent a grove of existing trees and a state-of-the-art playground.

The project provides a mix of commercial and retail functions, public domain improvements and sustainable architecture. Through considered integration with the city, the development emphasises the area's viability: not only for tourist and leisure purposes, but as a key part of an expanded CBD, offering a diverse range of experiences.

Commonwealth Bank Place comprises two eight-storey Grade-A commercial office buildings with ground floor retail spaces and a 1000-sq-m children's theatre in the North building. It is the new flagship campus for Commonwealth Bank of Australia and will house over 6,500 CBA employees. The total NLA is approx. 59,000 sq m with large and efficient contiguous floor plates. The four basement levels include 800 car parking spaces and 387 bike parking spaces.

Commonwealth Bank Place is a very different type of office building in a very special location. It is an architecture of human scale, natural materials and of a warmth of character appropriate to this very public parkland location. The long gently curving facade defines and enhances the public realm with a warmth and transparency unusual in any commercial building. The mullions are made of natural timber and irregularly spaced like rows of trees in a forest. Between these deep, profiled posts are adjustable timber louvres that control heat and glare automatically adjusted in relation to the position of the sun. Importantly this composed use of natural timber in layers behind very transparent glazing also creates a soft and warm backdrop to the tree canopies of the parkland.

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