Archive | March, 2011

Central Park – Sydney's new $2 billion urban village

26 Mar

Central Park is set to become an icon of 21st Century living, helping Sydney stake a claim as one of the world’s great urban destinations. Spectacularly located at the edge of the CBD, Central Park is a $2 billion village with a beautiful, spacious park at its heart.

With 11 buildings, 1,600 apartments and a lively collection of shops, cafes, restaurants, laneways, terraces and offices, Central Park transforms the old Kent Brewery in Chippendale into an intelligent interplay of buildings and public spaces, and raises the benchmark for sustainable living globally.

As Australian artist Lloyd Rees once said, “A city is the greatest work of art possible”. This has never been truer than at Central Park, which enlarges our sense of what’s possible – now and in the future.


Great architecture isn’t created in a silo. Great architecture is collaborative. So when Frasers Property acquired the Carlton United Breweries site from Foster’s in 2007, it invited a ‘dream team’ of world-leading architects to create a vision that would match its vast potential.

The design brief for each architect was simply to create iconic architecture of the highest sustainable standards, with people at their heart. This brief was spearheaded by Dr Stanley Quek, CEO at Frasers Property, who felt it was important to devote one-third of the 5.8 hectare site to public, open spaces.

The masterplan therefore revolves around a spacious urban park, which covers 6,400 square meters in size. This, together with an intricate web of roads and pathways, draws people into the heart of Central Park and delivers its character and soul. It also returns the old Kent Brewery to the people of Sydney after 150 years of exclusion.

Sustainable design features include solar panels, rooftop gardens, tri-generation pipes and water tanks, which are cleverly adapted into each corner of the site.

“To have the voice of the engineer, community and architect working together to create one vision – this is the way contemporary architecture is made,” says Alex Tzannes, Director of Tzannes Associates, who played a key role in shaping the original masterplan.

“The masterplan is the unifying element that dictates the overall design, resulting in buildings that are memorable and distinctive, and enjoy a more special relationship with the people who inhabit them,” says Tzannes.

The masterplan has been through several incarnations, and is now being implemented by UK architects Foster + Partners. Even the slope of the site has been carefully considered, with buildings declining in height from the city towards residential Chippendale.


The very first stage of Central Park will set the scene for what is to come: two iconic residential towers rising above a retail centre, connected by terraced gardens to the main park beyond. World-class architecture, richly veiled in living green walls, this first residential stage will encapsulate all that Central Park has to offer: bold, beautiful and globally significant new directions for 21st century living.

Designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, Central Park’s first residential buildings remind us that nature can thrive in the city. Its façade is the canvas for a breathtaking ‘vertical garden’ by French artist Patrick Blanc, which delivers a flower to each resident, and a bouquet to the city.

This first residential stage will be released in Winter 2010, with future stages – by Johnson Pilton Walker and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, amoung others – to come. To register your interest and ensure you are amoung the first to view Central Park,


Award-winning London architects Foster + Partners are the designers behind Central Park’s first iconic commercial building, which will be released for sale soon. Offering 90,000 square metres of prime office and retail space in Sydney’s newest urban quarter, Foster + Partners’ commercial building is conveniently on the southern cusp of the CBD.


Eat, drink, shop, explore and play… Central Park is a mixed-used precinct that delivers an eclectic collection of shops, fashion boutiques, galleries, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, fitness clubs and wine bars.

Central Park will soon unveil its dynamic retail precinct, which includes a five-story shopping mall at One Central Park; a laneway devoted to shops, markets, cafes and bars on historic Kensington Street; and a vast retail venue inside the old Kent Brewery building.


Within Central Park, on Kensington Street, Sydney architects Tonkin Zulaikher Greer have created a new destination for cafes, galleries, weekend markets and organic food co-operatives. Central Park’s spacious green parks and gardens also provide a tranquil haven for the entire city to enjoy.

Colliers unveils Central Park shopping centre with a twist
09 Mar 2011…e-with-a-twist

Frasers Property Australia and Colliers International have launched “Central”, the first retail offering at the $2 billion Central Park development in downtown Sydney.

Central comprises 16,000sqm of retail over five levels, situated within the podium of the One Central Park residential towers on Broadway, with towers designed by globally-acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel and retail spaces conceptualised by The Buchan Group.

The new development will aim to provide shoppers with a blend of gourmet groceries and streetwise fashion, along with future-focused electronics retail, entertainment and dining, and urban wellbeing. However, according to Colliers International national director of retail, Nathan Clark, the precinct will veer away from the conventional large shopping centre format, and instead target the youth market and aim to fill a perceived niche.

“Central will have a youth focus, be fashion-forward and offer 18-hour trading and Sydney’s southern CBD does not have a retail offering of this calibre despite demonstrable demand,” he said.

“Central’s contemporary design, feature elements, interactive interiors and retail outlets will ensure a stand-out precinct that will really contribute to the urban village of Central Park.”

Clark has also seen significant interest from national retailers keen to cash in on the new development.

“Major Australian retailers are attracted to developers like Frasers who are providing shopping and entertainment destinations that increase foot traffic,” he said.

“[Because] these highly directional retail environments allow retailers to develop innovation within their brands, increase existing customer bases and push up moving annual turnovers.”

Central is expected to officially open to shoppers in April 2013.


Sydney’s Central Park development under construction…-construction/

A NEW development for central Sydney will bring a much needed international flavour to the southern CBD reminiscent of global cities such as Tokyo and New York.

Made up of 16,000 m2 of retail space over five levels, the development will sit within the podium of the Jean Nouvel designed One Central Park residential towers on Broadway and will be youth focused, at the fashion forefront and offer eighteen hour trading.

The lower ground level will be home to a major supermarket and specialty fresh food. The ground and first floors will have the latest local and international fashion outlets as well as technology stores. Above this will be two stories offering a mix of global cuisine while on the top level there will be a health and fitness facility.

Contemporary design and character-filled retail outlets will ensure the development contributes to the urban village style of Central Park when the complex opens in April 2013.


Now you can shop without a trolley…-1226018668905

IT will have karaoke bars, a swimming pool, market grocers – and not a shopping trolley or a carpark in sight.

This is the future of Sydney shopping centres.

A new five-storey shopping centre will be built by 2013 at the old Carlton United Brewery site on Broadway, with developers yesterday revealing every retailer, design and fit-out would be aimed at the youth market.

Mumsy mid-range designers will be ditched for cutting-edge fashions rising from Tokyo and New York.

Hardware stores and banks will be sacrificed for technology and electronics retailers and the fit-out will be anything but beige, with a graffiti wall instead.

Colliers International director of retail Hilton Hedley believed the centre would be a world-first, catering to the demands of downtown Sydney. “It’s an 18 to 35-year-old’s dream,” he said.

It will offer 20-hour trading, seven days a week, staying open from 7am to 3am and boasting restaurant dining, cocktails and even karaoke bars in its entertainment wing.

The whole fourth level will be an “Urban Wellbeing” health club, with a day spa, saunas and a 25m outdoor heated swimming pool on the fifth floor.

The centre, part of the $2 billion Central Park development, will be based on Singapore’s ultra-modern shopping centres.

Mr Hedley said the lower ground floor would feature a major supermarket and a fresh food market grocer, butcher and a baker to service the 8000 residents in the development’s apartments.

But there will be no fast-food court, rather about 20 Asian-inspired kiosks cooking fresh late into the night.

“There are 105,000 students at its doorstep,” Mr Hedley said. “They are smart and tech savvy. We want it to be lively and reflect that.”


Vale Nick Murcutt

21 Mar

19 March 2011 – Award winning architect Nick Murcutt  passed away at his home in Bondi on Thursday night.

National president elect Brian Zulaikha sent the following news alert to  Australian Institute of Architects members late Friday:

“It is with much sadness that I let you know our colleague and friend Nick Murcutt died last night at home in Bondi.

Fortunately, Nick and Rachel Neeson, his partner of 16 years, were able to marry yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

As many of you are aware, Nick was a very active and passionate supporter of the Institute and the profession, as well as being a very talented designer. He and Rachel completed a range of inspiring projects, including two Wilkinson Award winners. He will be sorely missed.”

On behalf of the profession, I send my condolences to Rachel, Nick’s young children Alice and Otto, and the Murcutt and Neeson families. Nick’s service was held Monday 21st March at St. Canice’s, 28 Roslyn Street, Elizabeth Bay. A trust fund for Alice and Otto has been established by some of Nick’s closest colleagues.

Contributions can be made to RM Neeson ATF Otto and Alice Murcutt at Westpac, BSB 032016, Account 432103.


Nick Murcutt and Rachel Nesson of Neeson Murcutt Architects judging The best un-built work of 2010 at AUT’s St Paul Street Gallery in November 2010.

Some examples of Neeson Murcutt Architects work-

1. House on the Slope by Rachel Neeson and Nick Murcutt

2. Box House, south coast NSW.

3. Five Dock House

4. Ferguson House

HOUSE PROUD; The Box House: Simplicity Cubed

By ELAINE LOUIE, New York Times, June 10, 2004

WHEN Elizabeth Charles and her husband, Martin Halstead, decided in 1997 to build a weekend house here, 300 miles south of Sydney, they knew who they would like to design it: Glenn Murcutt. They also knew they could never afford him — and that was five years before he won the prestigious Pritzker Prize. But they called him anyway, just to talk.

Ms. Charles, now 44, and her husband, 43, were particularly taken with a Murcutt building they had seen in a magazine. It was, she recalled, ”a tractor shed he had pulled apart and reassembled” — classic Murcutt.

”It was a modest building,” she said. ”We liked the natural simple wood, and the way it sits in the landscape. And we’d imagined a modest building here.”

So when Ms. Charles got Mr. Murcutt on the line, she asked if he could recommend anyone to do something on a budget of $50,000.

”Call my son,” he said.

Nicholas Murcutt had just begun his own architecture practice in Sydney, and he was ”intimate with the tractor shed,” Ms. Charles said.

Nicholas Murcutt, then 33, met with Ms. Charles and Mr. Halstead, whose primary home is in Exeter, 217 miles north of here. Then he began to draw. ”What was attractive was to work with a small budget,” he said. ”If you’ve got a well-designed space, you have more space than you think.”

The house that resulted, the first stage of which was finished in 2000, is not anything like the reassembled tractor shed Ms. Charles had so admired. Called the Box House, it is a floating cube perched on concrete piers. Three sides are uninsulated timber, one and a quarter inches thick, and the fourth, the north and sun-facing side, is entirely of glass, with bifold doors on the lower level that open onto a deck overlooking fields, trees and hills.

The house is 20 feet high by 20 feet long by 20 feet wide, a scant 400 square feet. But the double-height ceiling, cubic space and transparent north facade make it feel spacious.

It is not like anything Glenn Murcutt would have designed. The elder Murcutt is known for ecologically sensitive designs that echo woolsheds and other farm structures, using materials like corrugated iron. He also builds sleekly modernist homes for the city, and last year renovated his own home in Mosman, across the bay from Sydney.

”I know he doesn’t like the Box House,” the son said cheerfully. ”He sees a building as a naturalist sees a tree. It has roots and grows upward.”

Westfield's 85 Castlereagh emerges from the cocoon

16 Mar

The iconic 85 Castlereagh Street building by Westfields and John Wardle Architects of Melbourne is slowly emerging, chrysalis-like, on to the Sydney skyline.

Much anticipated by its designers, and its new principal tenant JPMorgan, this glassy turd is proving difficult to see. Pertinently, design renderings by the architects always showed this Jetsonesque tower viewed from the air. There are few points on the ground to study its drama.

The 6 Greenstar tower was briefly put on hold during the GFC. It shares with the retail below a blackwater plant (basement) and a cogeneration facility (using gas to generate electricity, utilising the waste heat to power the chillers- somewhat technical!) housed on the roof of the ASIC-occupied 100 Market Street next door.

The Lowys (owners of Westfield’s) intend to occupy the top few floors and place their workers in the fifficult=to-rent lower floors of 100 Market Street (to “live above the shop”, so to say). The old Westfield tower on William Street will be presumably vacated.

Barangaroo C4 is shrinking – city tower is cut down to size

7 Mar

Vikki Campion From: The Daily Telegraph February 11, 2011

BARANGAROO is shrinking.

Critics slammed the latest office tower to hit NSW Planning desks, a 42-storey goliath, for being too broad and bulky.

Architects had a second go at it yesterday, slimming the $1 billion building by 6m.

Developers have slashed back the original plans, paring back the pier length from 150m to 85m, the hotel height from 213m to 159m, and the number of commercial towers from four to three.

British architect Lord Richard Rogers, famous for designing the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd’s building in London and the new Tower 3 at the reconstructed World Trade Centre, drew the inside-out building in a “contemporary architectural style” that makes it appear transparent.

The lifts have been cut from nine to eight, projecting bays have been replaced with recessed bays, and its edges have been “tapered and curved” in a bid to shorten its appearance.

Lend Lease’s group head of development David Hutton said the changes came after 20 submissions from the public.

“We have responded to Sydney City Council’s comments and introduced refinements that improve the scale and appearance of the building and we have produced an even better result,” he said.

At 176.5m tall, the building will have 88,582 sq m of commercial floor space. It is due to be completed in 2014.


Ken Maher of Hassell- Shaper of things to come

3 Mar

Louis White, The Australian February 26, 2011


Ken Maher, part of the design team for the $6 billion Barangaroo urban regeneration in Sydney.

Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Australian

IT’S appropriate that Ken Maher was born in a town halfway between Sydney and Brisbane.
On the banks of the NambuccaRiver, Macksville – population 3000 – is a town where children need to use their imagination to entertain themselves. It stood Maher in good stead to become one of Australia’s leading architects, unrestricted by traditional city landscapes.

The way cities are built is the one thing Maher wants to change, and feels needs to change.

“Buildings in the past have been built as sealed boxes that you pump cold air into,” Maher says.

“In the 19th century you basically had big buildings and houses, with nothing in between. In the 20th century we saw specialists in the design of buildings accentuating the difference between apartment, office and warehouse buildings, for example.
“Now going forward we will see less specialist building types and more buildings that can be adapted to climate issues, occupancy requirements combined with a change in the production of buildings.”

Maher says technology will change the fabric of buildings, especially in high-growth population countries.

Sekisui Wentworth point

Japanese company Sekisui House, the largest builder of prefabricated sustainable housing, has made inroads into the Australian market, he notes.

“When we think of prefabricated houses we think of container boxes and cheap, nasty concrete factories, but that is all going to change mostly through digital technology,” Maher says. “The future will see very different designs and materials used for buildings and houses.”

Maher, the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2009 gold medallist, was instrumental in the design of one of Australia’s most sustainable buildings, the ANZ Centre.

ANZ’s new headquarters at 833 Collins St in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct is the largest, greenest commercial office building in the country.

The building has a top six-star Green Star Office Design rating from the Green Building Council and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent, the equivalent to taking 2000 cars off the road every year.

Water consumption will be 60 per cent less than the industry average. A green roof and exterior sun shading not only maximise daylight but reduce heat gain and loss.

“When you start on a project you never know where it is going to end,” Maher says.

“With the ANZ building we thought it important to make a shift in the thinking of how people work together. We wanted the ground floor to be place where everyone could come together to promote a feel-good meeting space.”

The building has the equivalent of 80 storeys flattened out into 10, with no staff member sitting more than 11m from natural light.

“We need to think how design can be used as a positive force in the cities,” Maher says.

“By making changes to commercial buildings it can lead to better outcomes for the city and that means everyone, including the workers, the travellers and the people who live there.”

In the 1950s and 60s people lived in suburbia and came to the cities for work, Maher says, but society has changed and people now live in and around central business districts. “So we need to adapt,” Maher says.

He cites his upbringing in the country as being influential on his designs.

“Growing up every day looking at the landscape had its impact,” he says. “As far back as I can remember I was always drawing. People around me made the connection between drawing and architecture, though I personally didn’t know any architects.”

Maher went to the University of NSW, where he studied for a bachelor of architecture, graduated with first-class honours and completed his masters degree a few years later.

Before and during his studies he worked at the NSW Department of Works on a cadetship before entering the world of private enterprise with a firm by the name of Nielsen Warren and Mark Windass Architects, whose name soon changed to Warren Windass Associates.

After a short stint travelling overseas Maher returned to Australia to take over the partnership and renamed it the Quay Partnership in 1979 until 1985, when he formed Ken Maher and Partners, which led to the creation of Hassell in 1993, of which he is chairman today.

“I am very project driven,” Maher says. “I like projects that make places. That is very stimulating and I get very excited by a new project. The whole creative process gets me up in the morning.”

Maher is very proud of the Olympic Park Rail Station in Sydney, which won the Australian Institute of Architects’ Sir John Sulman Award in 1998. (He won the same award for the National Institute of Dramatic Art building in Sydney’s Kensington in 2002.)

“When we were building the Olympic Park I was influenced by Grand Central Station in New York,” he says. “I wanted to feel as though they were meeting somewhere exciting and where a whole story came together.”

Maher has also been heavily influenced by his landscape design and environmental studies.

He was a founding member of the Green Building Council of Australia and a member of the technical steering committee that developed the Green Star rating tools for the building industry.

“My landscape design and environmental studies broadened my view and pushed me to work on bigger projects,” he says.

“I am now influenced by climate change, the ethos of our cities and providing a better building, for the individual, company and the climate.”

Maher’s greatest challenge lies ahead as he is part of the design team for the $6 billion Barangaroo urban regeneration on the fringe of Sydney’s central business district.

“Any development in Sydney is controversial whereas in Melbourne they just get on with it,” he says in response to the ongoing debate over the project. “I think a lot of the debate has been over the size of the buildings and not the real issues.

“We desperately need a new way of accommodating people in the cities in terms of occupancy and design, and Barangaroo offers that opportunity.

“Obviously it has to relate to the rest of the city but we have a fantastic under-utilised waterfront and Barangaroo will provide another new experience and I think it will be a really interesting place.

“We sometimes hang on to the old for the sake of hanging on to the old. If we didn’t have the Opera House, it wouldn’t have allowed us to do many other things in this city.”


01- Canberra Playhouse Theater, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

02- Fox Studios Car Park, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

03- National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

04- North Sydney Olympic Pool, Photo: Patrick Bingham Hall

05- Westpac Place Headquarters Fit-out, Sydney, Photo: Tyrone Branigan

Images: Australian Institute of Architects

Editor- it helps that this guy is really well connected with the Council…