6 November 2013 — A pair of conical commercial office towers wrapped in photovoltaic panels and topped with wind turbines is one of four proposals for office towers being considered for construction in Parramatta Square. Bologna-based firm Mario Cucinella Architects have come up with this futuristic, energy-generating proposal.
Other contenders short-listed by Parramatta City Council’s Parramatta Square Stages 5 and 6 design competition jury were Sydney-based Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Johnson Pilton Walker, and Bates Smart. The four design proposals were chosen from a field of 73 designs from across the world.
When constructed, the commercial towers will add up to 140,000 square metres of office space to the Parramatta CBD and function as two of the key centrepieces of the three-hectare Parramatta Square site in the heart of the CBD.
“We’re delighted to see such forward-thinking, innovative solutions,” Lord Mayor John Chedid said.
“Without question, this creative range of designs, submitted by many of the leading architecture firms across the world today, will help us meet our future business, cultural, entertainment and tourism needs, and signpost Parramatta in a distinctive, unique way.”
The jury was made up of NSW Government Architect Peter Poulet, City of Sydney director of city planning, development and transport Graham Jahn, NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure urban design team leader Elisabeth Peet, and Parramatta City Council’s director of property development Scott Gregg.
Each proposal was assessed in terms of its sustainability, design, urban design, feasibility and innovation.
Describing the four finalists, the jury said the Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp proposal was for “two elegant, connected, tapering geometric towers that have the potential to become signature buildings in Parramatta Square”.
The Johnson Pilton Walker proposal was said to create links between Parramatta Square, Darcy Street and the Parramatta Station concourse, extending open public space over the two levels.
“The rectilinear towers hover high above the new open space,” said the jury, “which is a grand gesture to Parramatta Square.”
The Bates Smart scheme “proposes a differentiated active podium that addresses Parramatta Square, activating it with a mix of retail uses”.
“Two rectilinear towers with deep recesses form a backdrop rather than an iconic gesture.”
Of the Mario Cucinella Architects proposal, the jurors commented: “This environmentally-focused scheme proposes a pair of conical towers whose surface is animated by a breathable photovoltaic system. The roof plane features sculptural wind turbines signalling the sustainable emphasis of this design.”
The four finalists will compete in a design excellence competition closing on 6 December. Each will receive $30,000 on submission of a complying scheme, with Council announcing the winning design before the end of the year.
The firm appointed for Stages 5 and 6 will join a range of internationally recognised architecture firms already appointed to design other landmark buildings within the Parramatta Square precinct.
Stage 1, a commercial building at 169 Macquarie Street, was awarded to Architectus; Stage 2, the Aspire residential tower at 160 Church Street, was awarded to Grimshaw Architects; and Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp was appointed to design community/Council facilities and commercial space for Stage 3.