In this video interview Simon Parsons, Executive Director at PTW, discusses the design of Sydney’s new landmark towers One Central Park.

Parsons tells the story of PTW’s work as collaborating architects with Ateliers Jean Nouvel, from the early vision and conceptualising through to the practicalities of delivering a worthy ‘new southern gateway’ to the city’s CBD.

Here he shares details of some of the creative design solutions that allowed the team to deliver some of the ground-breaking architectural elements of the building.

One Central Park

One Central Park is the first residential stage within the $2 billion mixed-use Central Park precinct, developed by Frasers Property Australia (Frasers) and Sekisui House Australia (Sekisui House).

Ateliers Jean Nouvel was commissioned to design two signature residential towers along Broadway – which became One Central Park. One Central Park comprises 623 apartments in two adjoining towers linked by a recreation podium including a major new urban shopping centre, ‘Central’.

It’s designed by France’s Pritzker-prize winning architect, Jean Nouvel of Ateliers Jean Nouvel, with PTW as collaborating architect.

The project also includes collaborations with two other esteemed French artists, Patrick Blanc and Yann Kersale.

A defining feature is the ‘monumental cantilever’expressed as a Sky Garden extending from level 29 of One Central Park’s taller East tower. The cantilever supports a light-reflecting heliostat system, while the largest en masse vertical gardens in the world clad the exterior facades.

The heliostat design feature is the first of its kind to be used in a residential context in Australia and the largest of its type in the world used in an urban environment.

The heliostats track sunlight and redirect it deep down into the mass of the building and onto overshadowed parklands, bringing solar energy to places that direct sun beams can’t reach. 320 glittering reflectors cantilever 42m from the East tower, bringing the concept of remote solar power plants to their inner city neighbourhood.

The design intends for plant life and redirected sunshine to be used in new ways to improve the quality of high rise living, with hydroponics and heliostats allowing vegetation and daylight to be extended to previously inaccessible places of the building.

A soil-less vertical veil of vegetation in planters grows along walls all the way up the towers.

Patrick Blanc’s vertical gardens are interspersed in 21 various sized panels across the facades of the two towers, spanning over 1000 square metres and containing 35,000 plants and 350 different species.

A statement from Ateliers Jean Nouvel explains: “Beyond the functional convenience, their towering green presence is also a universal signal of life on Earth. This knowledge that vegetation means life is so deeply engrained in human perception that parks and gardens have at all times been the most desirable places to live next to.”

Central Park viewed from Broadway by Murray Fredericks 

A lighting artwork by conceptual lighting artist Yann Kersale, Sea Mirror or Miroir de Mer, features on the heliostat mirrors on One Central Park’s East tower by night.

Interior architecture of One Central Park’s East tower – including the 38 apartments which comprise Sky at One Central Park – is by Koichi Takada of Koichi Takada Architects. William Smart of Smart Design Studio, created the interior architecture for One Central Park’s West tower.

Frasers Property appointed Ateliers Jean Nouvel in March 2008 to work alongside UK based Foster + Partners and Australian firm Johnson Pilton Walker, as masterplanning collaborators for Central Park.