Danish architecture firm 3XN will design a striking new tower at 50 Bridge Street and become masterplan architects for a 110,000 square metre precinct redevelopment of Sydney’s ageing Circular Quay.

Owners AMP Capital on Wednesday announced 3XN as winner of a global competition to design the Quay Quarter Sydney precinct, beating out stiff competition from firms including Sydney’s Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Morphosis from the USA, SANAA from Japan and Ingenhoven + Architectus from Germany and Sydney.

The landmark project at 50 Bridge Street will see the 45-storey 1976 tower transformed into a twisting, angular structure – a series of stacked “vertical villages” designed around atria to increase views, sunlight, interaction and open space.

The remarkable transformation from ’70s eyesore to Danish sculpture would seem to require a complete rebuild, however the core of the building is being retained as well as two-thirds of the structure facing onto Bridge Street. In the rework process, however, the building will widen, with the floor space doubling to 90,000 sq m, though height will remain the same.

The project will also feature adjacent low-rise laneway development featuring retail, small cafes and bars, and high-end residential.

AMP Capital managing director office & industrial Louise Mason said the design brief was to revitalise the ailing area into a “vibrant destination” and to create a new business and lifestyle precinct.

“We are creating the best office space in Australia, a premier address for global business at the gateway to the financial district and core CBD,” she said.

3XN founding partner and creative director Kim Herforth Nielsen said the project would look at high rise development in a new way “from both the inside out and outside in”.

“Its dynamic, shifted massing providing stunning views for all of the building’s users while also creating expansive open spaces that encourage possibility for interaction, knowledge sharing and vertical connectivity,” he said.

The new building, he said, would transform the area into a sought-after international commercial address.

Arup will provide engineering consulting services, including environmentally sustainable design, for the project, however sustainability information is currently thin on the ground.

Arup principal and Sydney building services leader Robert Saidman said even though Circulay Quay was Sydney’s gateway, it had lost its relevance in recent years. The new project was set to put the destination back on the map.

“Quay Quarter is a precinct worthy of a place alongside the world’s most famous harbour,” he said.

Stage 2 DAs will now need to be submitted and approved by the City of Sydney.

3 replies on “Danish firm wins Circular Quay redevelopment competition”

  1. Why has an overseas architect won the competition? Were the entries from Australia that bad?

    We have to support local architects.

    And yes, my normal comment, how sustainable is it and why such a tall building ON THE QUAY? Will we never learn!

    I also have some expletives that describes my feeling for the development but they are totally inappropriate. What happened to the master plan for the quay. This is a developer/owner getting the way again. RRRRRhhhhhh!!!!!

  2. Circular Quay will never be relevant as long as it remains a tourist trap. Planners need to consider this on a larger scale, aside from selecting a building design that is architecturally trendy…

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