On 8 December Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners celebrated the completion of the final tower at International Towers Sydney. This marks the conclusion of the first significant part of the practice’s masterplan for Barangaroo South.
The ongoing redevelopment, Sydney’s largest urban renewal project since the 2000 Olympics, unites the CBD with the waterfront, provides a new financial services hub, and will create a vibrant new carbon neutral district in the downtown area. The project was developed by Lend Lease.
The building of International Towers Sydney has been the driving force behind the Barangaroo project. Conceived as three sibling buildings, harmonious but with distinct details providing individual character, the towers are carefully positioned on a radial geometry to maximise sunlight and views. Opening out over the western harbour, they now mark Sydney’s new front door.
The towers’ design turns convention on its head, creating a workplace for the future. 23,000 office workers will be housed in approximately 300,000 sq m of premium office space across the three towers. The flexible 2,500 sq m floorplates will enable occupants, who already include Gilbert + Tobin, HSBC, KPMG, Lendlease, Marsh & McLennan, PWC, Servcorp, Swiss-Re and Westpac to personalise and arrange their office spaces according to their unique needs. Day-lit lift lobbies, panoramic prows, 100% fresh air, high ceilings and large open vertical spaces throughout the buildings all combine to promote a state of the art workplace.
The unconventional lobbies are transparent and inviting, weaving into Barangaroo South’s tight network of streets and lanes, enriching the development, adding a new dimension to Sydney’s outdoor culture, and helping to give the towers human scale and impact at ground level. The facades are functional as well as elegant, utilising a combination of horizontal and vertical shading to protect from solar load, reducing the energy needed for cooling, whilst also providing a unique colour, scale, filigree and grain to the individual towers.
The towers have received the prestigious 6 star Green Star rating, and along with the shading utilise a wide spectrum of environmental features including harbour water heat rejection, solar panels, rainwater capture and recycling, blackwater treatment, and a basement housing three times more bicycles than cars.
Speaking as the towers were launched, Senior Partner Richard Rogers said: “Sydney is one of the most magnificent port cities in the world, but historically the city has never reached the waterfront. One of the main aims of this project was to extend the CBD down to the waterfront, creating a new district of work and leisure, with 50% open space. Since the towers have been built, the area has been teeming with people, life and vitality, showing that this was absolutely the right response to the area. Working on a project of this scale has been an incredible opportunity for the practice to undertake a high quality piece of placemaking.”
Senior Partner Ivan Harbour said: “Eight years after their inception, the commercial towers and streets of Barangaroo are complete and are being rapidly occupied. The journey has been long, but much quicker than imagined in 2008.
“We designed the towers and their surrounding streetscape and waterfront holistically, and have worked to ensure the delivery lives up to that high standard, retaining and enhancing the core place making concepts that set them apart years ago.
“This has been a globally outstanding piece of city centre regeneration that will establish a new benchmark worldwide, and of which I am very proud to have played a part.”
Project Director Avtar Lotay said: “Sculpted from site, context and country, the precinct is of its place. The radial arrangement of the towers break the orthodox Cartesian grid, the radial arrangement exploits views of the city and water, maximising solar access. The resulting street pattern and its proportions provide a human scale public domain enriched by an intelligent mix of activity, which is strongly connected to the CBD.
“There are innovative measures to meet the enlightened sustainability agenda. The tower floorplates are shaped to correlate with the optimised solar shading, and provide democratic flexible spaces for the progressive user organisations to make their mark in creating agile and dynamic workplaces and communities of the 21st century in global Sydney.
“From the macro master planning to the micro assembly detail; from facades to lobbies; together with our design partners and our client, all aspects considered towards unique outcomes; crafted individuality with precision engineering.”
Project Architect Paul Thompson said: “The requirement for each of the towers to have an individual, low energy façade which could be read as a cohesive whole gave us the opportunity to develop and formulate three external façade systems which responded to their unique location. The façades used detailed, filigree solar shading to create a cohesive whole across the precinct and provide legibility from city to human scale.
The opportunity to benchmark, model, prototype, test, and deliver these innovative facades with a global collection of specialist consultants, façade engineers, fabricators, and manufacturers has been an extraordinary and highly rewarding experience.
The radial fan masterplan for the towers and streets created a variation across lobbies with relationships between their north south volumes, and expansion of space across the streets, creating 6 different lobbies whilst retaining a commonality "the lobbies of Barangaroo".
The lobby design principles of public through site links, towers coming to ground, and north south light as wayfinding provided a common sequence elements which when overlaid with the variation in the lobby volumes, and altering the of material palette, colour and grain, enabled clear tenant identity whilst maintaining an clear overarching framework.”