The winning design by Johnson Pilton Walker.

18 December 2013 – Soaring twin towers featuring a cantilevered double-height sky terrace have been selected as the winning design for stages five and six of the Parramatta Square project.

Parramatta City Council’s international design competition received 73 submissions from leading architects, with Sydney Firm Johnson Pilton Walker’s design selected unanimously by a judging panel of industry experts.

The 53-storey towers are being designed to a 5 Star Green Star standard, and will comprise a mix of retail podium, public space in a 27th floor “sky lobby” and up to 17,000 square metre  of net lettable area across each tower of premium office space, all with a clear linkage at ground level with the Parramatta Transport Interchange.

Other designs in the running were a fantastical conical tower covered in solar panels and crowned with wind turbines by Mario Cucinella Architects, crystalline geometric towers by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, and rectilinear white towers with deep recesses by Bates Smart.

Part of the council’s motivation for seeking to develop substantial commercial spaces as part of the three hectare  Parramatta Square project is a shortage of A-grade commercial space in the city centre, which has been identified in the New South Wales State Government Sydney Metropolitan Plan as Sydney’s ”second CBD”. Council has reported commercial office vacancy rates of only 1.5 per cent in 2013.

The entire Parramatta Square project has been masterplanned by the council to meet the requirements of the new Pilot Green Star Communities Rating Tool. In addition to instigating precinct-wide measures to achieve the rating, Parramatta has set a 5 Star Green Star requirement for all planned developments across commercial, residential, hospitality and retail sectors.

Designs for three prior stages have also been selected by competition and are proceeding through the development process.

Stage one comprises a commercial building designed by Architectus, with Leighton Holdings announced as successful tenderers to purchase the site in May 2013, and development approval granted on 18 September2013.

Stage two, the Aspire Tower, is a 90-storey mixed-use residential building designed by Grimshaw architects comprising 700 apartments, a hotel, a sky deck and retail at ground level. The planning proposal and DA have been lodged, with approval expected in the first half of 2014.

Stage three, designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, is a combination of community/council facilities and commercial space. The Development Application for this stage was submitted in September 2013, with approval expected March 2014.

Through the development of the Parramatta Square precinct, the council aims to achieve sustainable accommodation for 13,000 workers, the development of around 1500 new apartments and a dramatic revitalisation of the city centre. You can see details of the plan and some of the projects here.