Archive | Richard Rogers RSS feed for this section

2014 is a huge year for Sydney glitz and glam.

16 May

2014 is a huge year for Sydney glitz and glam.

A number of old icons are being razed for new icons. Each one of the below buildings are world class.

Under construction

140507-C01-001

Barangaroo
International Towers | 49st, 43st, 39st / 217m, 178m, 168m /
Architect- various

The fantastic Barangaroo is emerging from the primordial soup of east Darling Harbour.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW04.htm

140507-C02-003

140507-C02-014

20 Martin Place
Architect- Crone Partners in collaboration with James Carpenter Design Associates (NY).

A dazzling glass Miesien box to replace the seventies dazzling glass Miesien box. The main part of the renaissance of Martin Place. The architects have moved the circulation cores out of the main floor area. The old building was reduced to a fantastic steel skeleton.
Crones are so hot right now!
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd5-16.htm

140507-C03-020

5 Martin Place
Architect- Johnson Pilton Walker with Tanner Kibble Denton Architects.

A rather sympathetic and sophisticated approach to the sandstone canyon of Martin Place. Compliments the Commonwealth Bank money-box building next door.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd5-04.htm

140507-C04-001

Macquarie Martin Place headquarters
48 Martin Place.
Architect- Johnson Pilton Walker

This one looks like great fun. The architects have created a central void and a vast domed skylight.
A real urban testament to the money and glamour of banking (like something out of a Batman movie!).
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd5-08.htm

140507-C05-003

UTS Information Technologies Engineering Building (Broadway)
Architect- Denton Corker Marshall (DCM)

I’m not sure how this will turn out. It is pretty cool to look at, but it’s such an ugly monolithic metallic slug on such an important site that I think in ten years time it may be reviled (especialy if the cladding rusts). Cubist marshmallow!
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd7-023.htm

140507-C06-003

Urbanest student housing Wattle Street.
Architect- GROUP GSA

I’ve included this to show some interesting contextual stuff going up. Again part of the incredibly dynamic Haymarket district.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd7-026.htm

140507-C07-007

Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, UTS
Ultimo
Architect- Frank Gehry

Wow- my brain hurts thinking about the brickwork in this building. Indulgent but delightful (essence of architecture, right?).
Good to see an iconic education building on this site on the end of the Goods Line pathway.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd7-021.htm

140507-C08-007

180 Thomas Street, Haymarket.
Architect- Bates Smart

A speculative corporate response to the same site as above (Goods Line pathway), sitting on top of an existing substation.
A really good effort by Bates Smart if you ask me.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd7-025.htm

140507-C09-001

Central Park
on Broadway near Central Station
Architect- Norman Foster + Partners + Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Zipping along, needless to say…
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the development encompasses a shopping mall and apartment complex, with vertical gardens featuring on its facade.
Link- http://www.sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW15.htm

Under demolition and site prep.

140507-D01001

140507-D01009

Sydney Convention Centre
Darling Harbour
Architect- Hassell

Big things are planned for this site. After a tortuous couple of months the original Convention Centre (flagship of the eighties Darling Harbour) has all but disappeared.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/PYR/PYR17.htm

140507-D02-007

The Castlereagh
Architect- Tony Owen

More sleek plastic for downtown Sydney, to keep the overseas investors happy.
It replaces a rather staid 1920s job.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/cbd/cbd6-020.htm

140507-D03-010

33 Bligh Street
Architect- Fitzpatrick and Partners with Kannfinch

This is an ambitious and exciting building. It can get to be so high as the building itself sits on top of a large substation (to be hidden behind a huge sandstone screen).
It replaces a graceful but clapped out late sixties building.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW33.htm

140507-D04-011

333 George Street.
Architect- Crone / Grimshaw

Here’s an exciting building on a great site. It’s good to see this part of town slowly come back to life (with then night clubs, etc).
When George Street become a pedestrian area this site will soar. It will house the local branch of Marks and Sparks.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW34.htm

Recently Finished

140507-F01-014

8 Chifley
Architect- Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Lippmann Associates in association with Mirvac Design.

Not as exciting as the renderings, but an excellent addition to the streetscape.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW18.htm

140507-F02-015

Eliza Apartments
Architect- Tony Owen

This is a wee bourgeois gem. Check out the stonework at street level- really creative.
Link- http://sydneyarchitecture.com/NEW/NEW-SM22.htm

Epilogue
This city has no shortage of capital compared to other cities, look at the dollars being spent on projects around the city this decade.
Lets see, short list I quickly compiled.
$30b transport plan from the NSW government. Light rail, North West Rail Link, M5, M4 extension etc.
$8b Green Square/Zetland
$6b Barangaroo Lend Lease contract + $1b Crown Casino
$2.5b Darling Harbour redevelopment, Lend Lease contract (this company is obviously scratching the right backs in government)
$2b Central park
$1.3b City One/Wynyard Station
$1b AMP/Circular Quay
$1b UTS redevelopments

It’s is after 10 years of non spending post Olympics.

Advertisements

Latest on the Barangaroo Casino and Hotel

9 May

130510-08

Image submitted by reader.

Just one image of the fourth entry in the design competition for the Barangaroo Casino and Hotel has been published. It is believed to be from an Australian design firm of international standing but the details are yet to be released.

The design has been embraced by Sydney architects as an accurate response to the history of the site and of the process so far. One Sydney architect said “The design has some strong anthropomorphic elements but it is hard to put my finger on the exact references”.

The proposed building is 72 storeys with a spectacular eight storey penthouse at the top of the stunning kinked cylindrical tower. The base is three triangular forms containing the casino, an ultra luxury spa and wellness centre that is rumoured to have a membership consisting solely of billionaire men, and a small theatre that may be open to the public for up to two matinee performances every year.

No parallels have yet been drawn to the Opera House but it seems the comparisons will be inevitable.

————-

From the press:

Wilkinson Eyre down to final three in race for Barangaroo hotel tower
7 May, 2013 | By Richard Waite

Double Stirling Prize-winner Wilkinson Eyre has revealed its proposals in the competition to design a AUS $1 billion ‘resort’ tower in Sydney, Australia.

130510-07

Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and international giant KPF are also vying for the 235m-tall hotel tower scheme which will house around 350 bedrooms, including 70 ‘opulent suites’ on the top floors as well as 100 luxury apartments, restaurants, shops a spa and casinos.

Shard-architect Renzo Piano, who was named on a four-strong shortlist in February, has since dropped out of the contest.

130510-06

The six-star Crown Sydney building at Barangaroo has been billed as the ‘most iconic building to be constructed in Sydney since the Opera House’.

The victorious scheme will be built next to Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ contentious three-tower Barangaroo project for developer Lend Lease.

Construction work on the resort skyscraper has been set for 2014, subject to planning, with a scheduled opening date in 2018.

A winner will be named alter this month.

Source- http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/wilkinson-eyre-down-to-final-three-in-race-for-barangaroo-hotel-tower/8647632.article

130510-02 130510-01 130510-04 130510-05

 

Barangaroo plans reveal nation's largest office building

17 Nov

Kelsey Munro SMH November 17, 2011.

THERE may be taller buildings in Australia, but with its vast footprint, the 49-storey C3 tower at Barangaroo is likely to be the country’s largest office building in terms of floorspace.

Developer Lend Lease’s detailed plans for the second and third major commercial towers at Barangaroo were placed on exhibition by the Department of Planning yesterday, providing the most accurate glimpse yet of the future for the $6 billion urban renewal project.

At 205 metres tall with 115,291 square metres of floorspace, the northernmost commercial tower, C3, will be the tallest building at Barangaroo; but there will still be eight taller buildings in Sydney including the Citigroup and Chifley buildings.


C5, the southern tower, will be 39 storeys. Modified plans for the 42-storey C4 commercial tower standing between the two were lodged earlier this month.

Designed by architects Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, the towers have large floorplates, curved contours and vividly coloured vertical shading panels on the facade designed to cut air conditioning requirements by up to 30 per cent.

Each tower will have fewer than 200 car spaces; with a total of 1200 bicycle spaces across the three towers as part of plans to minimise car trips and promote alternative transport.

The childcare centre, which was deleted from C4 plans, has been restored in C3, while the planned supermarket in the commercial precinct has been downsized to a ”fresh food market in the podium of C5”, a Lend Lease spokesman said.

C3

A supermarket is likely to be part of the proposed residential towers to be built north of the commercial precinct, the spokesman said.

When complete, the three towers will provide almost 300,000 square metres of new office space in Sydney to house 24,000 workers; and 15,000 square metres of new retail floorspace at ground level.

Planning documents also proposed the use of ”responsive” digital landmarks beamed on to walls and building facades to help pedestrians navigate the new precinct. Completion of the three buildings, once approved, is scheduled for 2016.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/barangaroo-plans-reveal-nations-largest-office-building-20111116-1nj3k.html#ixzz1e04SEwlQ

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.

Source- http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/barangaroo-is-shrinking-city-tower-is-cut-down-to-size/story-e6freuzi-1226003997950

8 Chifley Square- richard rogers classic industrial.

3 Jan

8 Chifley Square will be a premium grade commercial building on a landmark Sydney CBD site. It will stand a height of 30 storeys, with an approximate net lettable area of 19,000 square metres.

As the focal point of Chifley Square, the new tower will be a striking, premium grade office building with highly articulated and expressive architecture. Its distinctive design, adaptable workspaces, green credentials, public space and site-specific features deliver an interactive and cutting-edge workplace for the future.

A five storey void at the street level of the building will offer a grand entrance and add extensive public space to the already appealing Chifley Square precinct.

Architects: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Lippmann Associates in association with Mirvac Design

Source- http://mirvacdesign.com/8-chifley-square

——————-

HEIGHT-roof-120m, core-141m, exhaust stacks-146m
(RL170m)
number of floors-30, 21 actual office floors.
1 basement

FEATURES-
#high performance glazing to control sun,heat,glare in workspace.
#facade-transparent double glazed with aluminuim sun lourves.
#25m high open foyer
# mid level & rooftop cafe areas for workers and public.
#external coloured steel support beams and exposed stairwells.
#6 star energy rated
#chilled beam co-generation & black water treatment plants.
#column free -1000sqm floors with rear service core

renders
150m high ‘pomidou centre”

——————-

“…chifley makes an unparalleled contribution to the public realm, the idea of a dynamic and social workplace and the sustainability of the planet, without doubt the “next wave” of commercial buildings for our city…”

This new commercial high-rise project was commissioned by Mirvac Projects after Lippmann Partnership (in consultation with Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners) won a City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition. The building accommodates 23,000 sq metres of premium grade office space at a prime location within the Sydney CBD.


 
The concept achieves three main objectives

1. an extension of the existing Chifley Square ground plane as public open space 

2. provision of an office “village” environment where varying floor plates allow 3 storey voids, offereing unique workspaces and flexibility within a commercial tower; and

3. achievement of a 6-star AGBR rating with photovoltaic sunshades, external sunscreens, blackwater treatment and co-generation plant resukting in a reduced carbon footprint of 70% for a building of this size.

After a 2 year delay duruing the global financial crisis, the project is nowe on site with expected completion date of 2013.

Source- http://www.lippmann.com.au/Commercial/8ChifleySquare/tabid/501/language/en-US/Default.aspx

C4 Barangaroo- Yeah Baby!

4 Dec

LEND LEASE has shaved the length and reduced the mass of the first of three giant office towers planned for Barangaroo in a bid to defuse opposition to the controversial development.

C4 Commercial Building.

Plans for the 43-storey tower to sit in the middle of three commercial buildings at East Darling Harbour show 90-metre long walls have been trimmed by five metres and the building has been ”articulated” to break up its bulk from having floors of 2500 square metres, bigger than almost all comparable buildings in Sydney.

Designs for the waterfront tower by British architects Ivan Harbour and Lord Richard Rogers from Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have been submitted to the Department of Planning for approval and will go on display today in a timetable that David Hutton from Lend Lease expects will see it approved before the March election.


”It could be approved by the end of the first quarter of next year … the reason we are doing this now is we are seeking to start construction next year to complete in 2014,” Mr Hutton said.

A great deal of work had gone into designing an ”absolutely world-class building” and especially into moderating the bulk or ”visual massing” of the building called C4, as seen from the south, he said.

C4 would be the ”greenest business address in the world” using 75 per cent less energy than the average Sydney office building, recycling all water and offering only 188 car spaces compared with parking for 708 bicycles.

Despite such credentials and design changes, the plans are unlikely to satisfy critics, including the City of Sydney which has called for the top third of all three office towers to be slashed in size with floors of only 1400 square metres to reduce bulk and the loss of winter sun at Darling Harbour.

Lend Lease has also irritated critics by lodging development applications for the earthworks and the tower before the Planning Minister has approved a separate application to vary the overall planning regime. Barangaroo needs the change to allow construction of a hotel in the harbour and 15 per cent more floor space.

The president of the Barangaroo Action Group, Ian Campbell, said it was absurd for the government to consider individual development applications before it had settled on the concept plan for the site and has already foreshadowed a legal challenge to the project.

Mr Hutton said there was no basis for a challenge and Lend Lease had spent a lot of time to ensure it complies.

”We think it’s a stunning building,” he said.

Source- http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/barangaroo-developer-unveils-plan-20101110-17npc.html

————-

Stats

> Construction of a new commercial Building C4 with a maximum 109,964m2 GFA accommodating:
– 10,683m2 retail floor space;
– 97,411m2 commercial floor space;
– 1,870m2 of community uses for the purposes of a child care centre;
– operation and use of the basement car park to accommodate 181 spaces allocated specifically to the proposed uses within Building C4; and
– 708 bicycle spaces.
> Construction of the surrounding public domain.
> Signage zones of the building facade that will accommodate building and business identification signage.

Source- http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=3800

—————–

The planning application for the first of the three major office towers at Barangaroo South has been lodged with the Department of Planning and is currently on public exhibition. 

With a working name of C4, the 180m commercial tower has been designed by Ivan Harbour and Lord Richard Rogers, of the internationally acclaimed Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.  The proposed design sits within the approved building envelope in the existing 2009 Concept Plan, so can proceed prior to the outcome of the assessment of the proposed Concept Plan Amendment (Mod 4), which is currently under review.

The C4 Commercial building represents a new model for offices of the future designed to meet the needs of the world’s most progressive businesses including:
large, clear and open floor plates that improve productivity and communication;
healthier and more attractive environments that provide great places to be and to work;
connected and accessible locations that offer immediate access to quality amenities;
flexible workspace that is adapted to the latest working practices and business models;
the most advanced environmental and sustainability outcomes.
The C4 Commercial building will achieve a 6-Star Green Star rating and take advantage of shared, precinct-wide infrastructure and services to deliver a carbon neutral, water positive and zero waste outcome.  Its sustainability ambitions will be achieved by aspects such as the positioning of lift cores and ‘vertical village’ communal spaces on the external northern elevation of the building which improves energy consumption, provision for green planting spaces at various levels of the building, and photovoltaic panels which will sit above the open rooftop terrace. 
 
C4 and Barangaroo South benefit from an innovative shared basement design.  The technology and infrastructure included in these basements will improve environmental outcomes and allow C4 to be 100% carbon neutral, including new off-site renewable energy and use 75% less energy; recycle all of its water; and, direct 80% of its waste away from landfill when compared to a typical Sydney office building.

The full documentation for C4 and a model of the building can be viewed at the Information Centre, Department of Planning, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney or online at www.planning.nsw.gov.au.

Source- http://barangaroosouth.com.au/C4-Commercial-Building/default.aspx

———–

The full documentation for C4 and a model of the building can be viewed at the Information Centre, Department of Planning, 23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney or online at www.planning.nsw.gov.au

————–

All eyes on Barangaroo
Philip Hopkins
November 20, 2010

THE proposed 300,000-square-metre commercial development at Barangaroo will meet almost half the underlying demand in the Sydney central business district office market over the next decade, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

A JLL report finds Barangaroo has the capacity to satisfy 47 per cent of CBD office needs between 2011 and 2020. The report, Barangaroo: in Perspective – the Next Evolution of the Sydney CBD Office Market, assesses the requirements of modern corporate occupiers, the proposed development at Barangaroo and the impact on the Sydney CBD office market.

The director of office market research at JLL, Andrew Ballantyne, said the demand for Sydney CBD office space in the next decade was forecast at 635,000 square metres. He said finance and insurance was a growth sector of the NSW economy and should account for 40 per cent of the additional demand to 2020.

”The Sydney CBD office market, similar to the early 1980s, has limited spare capacity for this stage of the recovery,” he said. ”We believe the vacancy rate has peaked at 8.1 per cent and is forecast to tighten over the next three years.”

In contrast, previous cyclical peaks in the Sydney CBD occurred at 13 per cent (mid 1970s recession), 4.3 per cent (early 1980s recession), 22.5 per cent (early 1990s recession) and 11.9 per cent (post-2000 slowdown).

Over the past 40 years, development cycles in the Sydney CBD had occurred in periods of low vacancy and above-trend rental growth, he said.

The JLL research forecasts vacancy will tighten to 6.3 per cent in the Sydney CBD by 2013 and prime gross effective rents will rise by an average of 8.5 per cent a year from 2011 to 2013.

”Based on our current vacancy projections, the Sydney CBD will be pushing up against supply-side constraints by 2012,” Mr Ballantyne said. ”Therefore, Sydney is scheduled to have a development cycle starting in 2012. Limited availability of sites in the CBD core and evolving requirements of large tenants seeking space with a minimum floor plate of 2000 square metres determine that Barangaroo will be the location for a high proportion of the forecast completions in the 2014-to-2016 time frame.”

Mr Ballantyne said the perception was false that Barangaroo would create an oversupply in Sydney.

”Based on an estimate of 2013 stock levels, Barangaroo will only account for approximately 6 per cent of the existing stock levels in the Sydney CBD,” he said, adding that there was a global trend in major financial centres towards big, modern corporate occupiers seeking large floors – preferably a minimum of 2000 square metres – with minimal intrusions in terms of columns and core areas.

He said tenants’ preference for larger floor plates was highlighted by the breakdown of the Sydney CBD vacancy rate. Total market vacancy was 8.1 per cent in the third quarter of this year but for prime buildings with average floor plates of more than 2000 square metres, it was very tight at 4.8 per cent.

Barangaroo- Moore declares hotel shadow too intrusive

20 Aug

Editor’s note- Oh dear, the water will be in shadow!

Matthew Moore and Kelsey Munro, August 19, 2010

THE lord mayor, Clover Moore, has broken ranks with the board responsible for Sydney’s biggest development, declaring a plan to build a hotel over the water at East Darling Harbour ”unacceptable” because of the size of its shadow.

Cr Moore, one of seven members of the board of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority, said new shadow diagrams revealed a decision to halve the length of the hotel pier meant the major waterfront promenade – and the cafes and restaurants that lined it – would be cast in shadow in winter, with little sun during the lunch hours of noon and 2pm.

”It’s unacceptable,” said Cr Moore, who said the site’s developer, Lend Lease, would have to consider moving the hotel back to the shore to avoid overshadowing an area she said needed winter sun for the thousands of people who will work in the huge office towers.

Cr Moore has been under pressure from other members of the City of Sydney to quit the BDA board so she can freely criticise plans for the project, which has grown 40 per cent since the government first announced it and which she says is too big.

But she defended her membership and said she had been able to improve the design of Barangaroo, reducing the number of towers from four to three, improving views and encouraging some human scale development, as well as ensuring there were more streets and lanes to make the development appealing at ground level.

Despite these improvements, there were still major problems with the project, she said.

Apartment towers on the northern side of a planned new cove were too high at 35 storeys and should be cut down to minimise the amount of winter sun they would block; and the 90-metres-wide commercial towers were too big.

Plans to amend the concept plan to allow the hotel and increased buildings heights were lodged with the Department of Planning last week. A window for objections is open only until September 10, a period Cr Moore said was far too brief for any serious assessment of Sydney’s biggest project.

A spokesman for Lend Lease rejected Cr Moore’s criticisms and said a number of sites and orientations had already been considered for the hotel, and the pier on the harbour was the preferred option.

”An important aspect of the hotel design is that it creates a really commanding north-facing cove. The pier integrates with the Southern Cove to create a major waterfront civic space and water square,” he said.

While the hotel would cast a shadow over the promenade, he played down concerns. ”The hotel has a shadow that tracks across the promenade, but it’s a small portion of the promenade and it moves quite quickly over a short period of each day … so we don’t see that as a major concern, and in fact in some parts of the year you’ll be grateful for some sun protection.”

He also dismissed council’s concerns about the height of the northern residential towers (150 metres or about 46 storeys). He said the two tall, slender towers had been designed with solar access in mind.

Restaurant operators at King Street Wharf were alarmed to discover shadows from the huge commercial towers would reach many of their establishments and rob their breakfast customers of winter sunshine.

”They don’t want to sit in the shade. That’s the whole point of being on the wharf, it’s half the reason they’re here to be on the water: to be warm and look at the views,” said Rebecca Hambly, manager of La Cita restaurant.

Source- http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/moore-declares-hotel-shadow-too-intrusive-20100818-12f8m.html

Another bastard for the colonies
SMH, December 23, 2009

History will cast them as foes, but in fact the two designs make exactly the same mistake.

Philip Thalis’ competition-winning design, expunged from the official website as if it never existed, split the huge Barangaroo site lengthwise, giving the public a flat-as-a-pancake park along the water and putting private (built) uses inland.

Lend Lease’s politician-winning scheme goes the other way, dividing the site across, planting the southern (larger) half with a forest of towers while the northern-or-lesser half becomes a back-to-nature front lawn.

Three of Lend Lease’s towers exceed the (already expanded) height limit. Controversy is therefore expected, height being so measurable, so easy to fight over. But really, once you’re past 40, height is not the issue.

Indeed, and this was Thalis’ other error, if he’d gone 50 storeys instead of six or 10 he’d probably still be in place. Several downtown towers – including Renzo Piano’s Aurora Place and Norman Foster’s 126 Phillip Street – would be improved by another few storeys.

The real issue is deeper, less fixable, and common to both. It’s the folly of dividing public, open space from private built space – as though Sydney’s grandest project ever were just another suburban lot – when we all know that successful city precincts mix it up, using buildings to define spaces and spaces to enrich buildings.

Former prime minister Paul Keating likes to apply the Central Park simile. But Central Park’s defining trait is the way it does precisely this, shaping buildings into a sheer escarpment that creates the world’s most memorable outdoor room.

Another useful template is St Mark’s Square in Venice, where a relatively narrow public waterfront strip opens with sudden drama on to a bustling, all-but-hidden urban space. Or Valletta, where the central square is strongly internal but each end of each whitewashed street is filled with that sparkling, azure sea.

Barangaroo, in separating public grass from private commercial, does the opposite, condemning the parkland to be as godless and windswept – as undefined and hard-to-love – as Pyrmont Point Park, while the commercial precinct becomes a nine-to-five corporate dead zone.

This is a double tragedy because it is not Lend Lease’s choice but a wanton government decision, months back, to bifurcate the site for dollars, and cement the split with separate control authorities. This means that while the Lend Lease-Richard Rogers scheme was always the best, even in the 2005-06 competition it didn’t win, the city precinct that will result from their appointment can never regain anything like that original pizazz.

On the other hand, what Lend Lease has chosen – the architecture – looks pretty damn ordinary. Pretty cheap, actually, like King Street Wharf stretched tall. I’d guess it’s as close to Lord Rogers as 126 Phillip Street was to Foster. Strictly bastard children to the colonies, thanks. And as for the supposedly ”natural” headland? Expect no baroque lusciousness of sandstone and angophora. Expect flat concrete, dead-look grass and a few half-hearted trees. Expect cheap.

Keating’s role here is pivotal. He helped judge the competition and now chairs both the Public Domain body controlling the front half (which is unfunded and therefore revenue-dependent on the back) and the Design Excellence Review Panel that advises on the back half. Like, what conflict of interest? Where?

This could spell disaster. Reintegration is virtually impossible and John Tabart, who redeveloped Brisbane Airport and ruined Melbourne’s Docklands, is leading the charge. The heart sinks. But there is at least one overseeing eye: Keating’s.

Source- http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/another-bastard-for-the-colonies-20091222-lbu6.html