Fender Katsalidis and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) have won the global design competition for Central Place Sydney, a $2.5 billion commercial development underpinning Sydney CBD’s Tech Central.

In the state’s most significant CBD development in over a decade, the design by Fender Katsalidis and SOM is set to transform the western edge of Central Station. The project to be delivered by Dexus and Frasers Property Australia will complement the City of Sydney’s proposal to create a third new major civic square.

The design for Central Place Sydney features two commercial towers at 37 and 39 levels and a striking landmark sculptural building which will activate the precinct that connects Railway Square, Central Station and the community beyond.

The substantial project, part of Tech Central, will encompass approximately 150,000 square metres of office and retail space and will become one of the most contemporary and sustainable workplaces in the world with its cutting-edge design.

Fender Katsalidis design director Mark Curzon says Central Place Sydney will be defined by its contribution to the city, new civic plaza, and sculptural office towers.

“Central Place Sydney’s focal point is a major new civic space wrapped with activated retail edges, enriched by two commercial towers and a landmark sculptural building. It will redefine the precinct, complementing Sydney’s vision for a ‘third square’,” says Curzon.

Central Place Sydney’s sculptural building, at the southern edge of Henry Deane Plaza, will be a dynamic urban marker that will strengthen the space whilst responding in scale and materiality to the surrounding heritage precinct. It is proposed to feature curved sandstone forms that respond to the different urban orientations.

The ground floor will be highly permeable, accommodating a retail experience flowing out into the plaza, while the upper commercial levels will be linked to the new towers to create campus-style floorplates.

“The building anchors the southern edge of the Plaza and combines creative workplaces, collaborative and community spaces, and active ground level retail along an internal pedestrian laneway,” says Scott Duncan, design partner at SOM.

The architectural concept evolved from the urban diagram, which influenced the two towers to become expressed as three individual forms.

Their distinct shapes read as a family, each expressed as individual characters in height, scale, articulation and materiality. The buildings’ podiums are clearly distinguished from the towers above, forming waistlines that reflect the adjacent heritage context.

“The sculptural towers are shaped by the movement and civic connections at ground level and extend vertically into a ‘fine-grained’ skyline, orientated to address key vistas in a gateway configuration,” says Curzon.

 The breathing buildings, with 100 per cent renewable energy, optimise their environmental footprints, mitigate wind effects and harvest natural daylight whilst a computer controlled double skin façade will mitigate direct sunlight and minimise heat gain.

Circulation flow through the precinct is formed organically via the spaces between the built form, allowing each floor to have its own unique neighbourhood connected by ‘third space’ experiences such as wintergardens, mixed-mode environments, light-filled atria and external terraces. The floorplates will be naturally ventilated via the façade.

The workspaces have been designed to be highly flexible, both vertically and horizontally, with diversity in volume to allow technology and innovation businesses the opportunity to evolve and continuously shape their culture.

“The design delivers a powerful narrative by establishing a new civic place that extends into the workplace, blurring the lines between public and private, while producing a highly vibrant and diversified experience,” says Duncan.

Image: Supplied