21 August, 2019

SYDNEY – CTBUH Australia’s Sydney Committee held the year’s final installment of its Design Excellence Series, profiling the new development proposals for 32 Smith Street.

The event began with an introduction from CTBUH Sydney Committee member Toni Blume, General Manager, Major Projects-Building, Lendlease, who welcomed attendees and provided some background on the Council and the Design Excellence Series.

Blume then welcomed the first presenters to the podium: Jamie Nelson, Head of Development, The GPT Group, and Alison Brown, Director, URBIS. Nelson began with an overview of the competition process, from the initial competition briefing and proposal submission and finally to the jury presentation and recommendation. He then outlined the primary commercial objectives for the project, emphasizing the high standards for sustainability and connectivity. Alison Brown provided more information on the parameters and requirements for the project, highlighting the importance of local heritage to the project’s objectives.

Toni Blume then introduced James Fitzpatrick, Partner, Fitzpatrick + partners, who delivered some remarks on the history of Parramatta and its impact on the firm’s design thinking for the project site. In particular, the design focused on prioritizing the creation of new pedestrian networks.

Richard Francis-Jones, Design Director, FJMT, followed, displaying sketches from throughout the design process. Revolving around a plan for am open, public lobby, the proposal was designed to relate to the existing laneways, bridges, and riverways that define the site.

Mark Curzon, Director, Fender Katsalidis, presented a design proposal that similarly emphasized a “gateway” to the river, aspiring to open up the site to pedestrian flows and enhance connectivity. Accordingly, the project incorporated existing view-lines to establish a visual connection to the river. Curzon also highlighted the care taken to minimize landscape loss through the inclusion of multi-level landscaped terraces throughout the building. The presentation concluded with a discussion of the structural and material considerations behind decisions on the building façade and height.

The final presentation featured Dirk Meinecke, Associate, Harry Seidler & Associates, who began with a top-down overview of his firm’s proposal. He noted the project’s initial ambitions for the tower height as well as the floor site limitations, and underscored the importance of an open entry and public space to the overall design. Meinecke closed the presentation with a study of potential structural systems for the tower’s construction, as well as the sun-shading techniques to be incorporated in the façade design.

Blume then thanked the speakers for their participation, as well as the sponsors GPT and Lendlease for supporting the Design Excellence Series. After breaking for a brief reception with drinks and snacks, the event concluded with a brief panel discussion featuring Kim Crestani, City Architect, City of Parramatta.