The City of Sydney has granted final development approval for the new Quay Quarter Tower, designed by 3XN Architects. The project is the most ambitious building designed by a Danish architect in the city since Utzon’s famed Opera House. In April 2014, the firm won an international competition, conducted by the client AMP Capital in cooperation with the City of Sydney Design Excellence competition process, to design the 49-story high rise. 3XN envisions the building as a social catalyst and incubator for both business and social interaction.
Located at 50 Bridge in Sydney’s Circular Quay precinct, the new tower will be visible from vantage points across the city. Responding to this singular site, 3XN designed a tower of stacked, angled volumes that is both sculptural and functional. This massing ensures optimal views for occupants while also creating interior spaces at a human scale that encourage interaction, knowledge sharing and vertical connectivity.
“Our vision is to create a building that brings the synergy, intimacy and connection to place found in a low-rise office building and stack it into a high rise,” said Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN. “By dividing the building into five separate volumes and placing an atrium at the base of each, the volumes become smaller, more intimate social environments where it is easier for employees to connect and interact. This pairs the positive effects of daylight and views with social connectivity. Unlike most high rises, we designed the tower from the ‘inside out’ and ‘outside in’.”
The 200-metre-high (656 feet) tower comprises five shifting glass volumes stacked upon each other. Rather than face directly into the adjacent building, AMP’s 33 Alfred Street, the lower levels of the tower angle west to capture the energy and movement from the surrounding neighbourhood. As the building rises, the northern façade shifts to the east. This rotation enhances views over the Opera House and Harbour and helps self-shade the northern façade from intense afternoon sun. The stacked volumes also reduce the perceived scale of building in the skyline while accentuating the ‘vertical village’ concept.
“3XN and AMP Capital have worked closely with the City of Sydney to ensure that our new building meaningfully contributes to the improvement of civic life,” said Louise Mason, Managing Director Office & Industrial AMP Capital. “We see the Quay Quarter Tower as a long-term investment for both our investors and in the future of Sydney.”
The expansive atrium lobby will provide an identifiable new access point to the commercial tower, along with an expanded retail and restaurant precinct that will enliven the existing streets, new arcades and through site links.
The designers applied urban planning principles to project, treating the entire building as an extension of the city. Expanding on the green and dynamic street life established by the podium, terraces at the base of each volume in the tower would provide outdoor space for socializing, which is rare in commercial high rises. A lush garden terrace will crown the top of the tower.