Kengo Kuma’s first Darling Exchange is set to drive the $3.4b Darling Square redevelopment of Darling Harbour with a six-storey, multi-use civic building wrapped in timber ribbons.
Like a slinky, or a coiled spring – the circular building that boasts Kengo Kuma’s Australian debut at one of Sydney’s most prestigious and visited destinations, will reflect Kengo Kuma’s architecture-for-everyone approach.
With public use at its focal, this civic centre has dedicated its 2,2225sqm of floorspace to a new City of Sydney library, childcare and commercial uses.
As an urban design strategy, the building’s interesting slot in a small urban pocket, is confused by high-rise buildings, fresh-food markets, rigid geometries and materials and human comfortability – somewhere in its midst, The Exchange fittingly sits.
In its diverse nook, the building will pay tribute to a non-architectural form, aiming to be accessible and recognisable from all angles.
The circular form is emblematic of the precincts ever-vibrant diversity in users and context. The spontaineity of timber screen wraps, shifts, filters natural light and suggests a softer texture leading to its interior space, whilst shifted off centre.
Providing views over Tumbalong Park, the Chinese Gardens and Cockle Bay, it will also host a ‘makerspace’ and Innovation exchange to support creative and tech start-ups.
Kengo Kuma says that the aim is to achieve architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community whilst referencing the history of Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity.