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    A wedge for light: BVN propose triangular tower for Sydney site constrained by solar access plane

    Nathan Johnson

    BVN has lodged a Stage 1 Development Application with the City of Sydney for a 16 storey mixed-use building topped with a massive landscaped shed roof.

    Located at 430 Pitt Street, the site is a vacant block on the edge of Chinatown and Central Station. It is bordered by an Ausgrid substation to the east and has street frontages to three of its boundaries, making it a significant urban infill project for a busy part of the city. It is also heavily constrained by the solar access plane protecting daylight to nearby Belmore Park and is surrounded by a host of, mostly brick, heritage buildings.

    With that context, BVN have proposed a 68-metre wedge-shaped tower that accommodates the site’s solar access plane, is clad in bricks (or terracotta) in homage to the neighbouring structures and is landscaped on its sloped roof to continue the park’s landscape through the site.

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    Image: Google Earth

    The building would comprise four levels of basement carparking, two storeys of retail facilities, one level devoted to commercial tenants and a further 14 levels of multi-residential.  At 33 metres, the podium datum would match the height of the neighbouring Ausgrid substation and also play home to the building’s communal open spaces.

    As part of their DA, BVN have actually proposed three versions of the building that differentiate in their setbacks. The architects preferred envelope would have no setback to Pitt Street and have smaller tower setbacks from the podium but it would still remain within the solar access plane and within the maximum GFA allowable on the site.

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    The preferred envelope does however create minor additional overshadowing to Belmore Park sometime between 2:30pm and 3pm, when compared to the complying envelope.

    A supplementary public art plan has also been submitted by the site’s town planner, Architectus in conjunction with the BVN DA. It shows an activated pedestrian link through the building as well as a plan to attract high-quality artists to create a public art strategy for the site.

    DESIGN INTENT (courtesy of BVN)

    The site presents a unique urban infill opportunity for the city through reinforcing the built edge to Belmore Park; by filling in the missing piece of the street walls to Hay and Campbell Streets; and by the nature of the corner site the built form becomes a ‘bookend’ to the city block.

    The podium street wall height responds to the height of its neighbouring buildings, the heritage listed Manning Building and substation. The tower element is significantly setback at the top of the podium level to reinforce the street wall heights along Hay and Campbell Street. These setback areas provide large double height communal terraces for the residents. The tower has a unique ‘wedged’ shaped form that is defined by the sun access plane to Belmore Park, that provides an opportunity for a strong architectural character to be developed for the building.

    A green roof is proposed to the sloping roof plane that can be considered as an extension of the park’s landscape through the site. The easement along the eastern boundary required for the neighbouring substation is proposed to become a through site link. The through site link will be paved and shared in parts by service vehicles for the site, and will be activated by incorporating public art through the space and potential retail kiosk installations. The materiality proposed is to use brick or terra cotta, and glass to sympathetically reflect the nearby neighbouring brick buildings while clearly articulating the contemporary addition to the city’s urban fabric.

    Images: BVN

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