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    Kuma and Crone’s Circular Quay hotel a tower of ‘pixels’

    Nathan Johnson

    Kengo Kuma and Crone Architects Principal, Sandra Furtado have signed off on their team’s design for a new luxury hotel in Sydney’s Circular Quay.

    The project, which is the second in a two part development of 1 Alfred Street, has been on the cards for the better part of a decade and been subject to abandoned Stage 1 DAs, ownership changes and redesigns.

    But the future of the site, known as the western ‘bookend’ of Circular Quay, is now certain and for all to see in Kuma and Crone’s gargantuan Stage 2 development application, currently with NSW planning.

    The hotel will sit alongside a new residential tower designed by Kerry Hill and been described by the architects as its “architectural dance partner”. At 110-metres high, it’s significantly shorter than Hill’s 57-storey tower, but Kuma and Crone say that its geometry and massing is designed to match and compliment Hill’s design.

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    The hotel (centre) makes up one part of the site’s development, the other is a Kerry Hill-designed residential tower (immediate right)

    The building volume has been designed to smoothly connect the Sydney city backdrop to the pedestrian scale at ground level. To achieve this, the architects have subtlety rotated its volume as it gets closer to the ground, shifting it away to create entries for site links and covered zones, as well as terraces for the lower levels.

    The lower levels will host the majority of the hotel’s amenity including dining, meeting and office facilities as well as a wellness centre, while the hotel rooms, which will number 182, will begin at level six after a structural transfer on level five. An indoor/outdoor rooftop bar has also been proposed.

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    The building’s façade treatment will consist of three primary material types; glass, sandstone, and vegetation, and has been described by the architects as a series of ‘pixels’, positioned according to their need and outlook.

    As Crone explains:

    “In principle, the glass pixels provide views; sandstone pixels anchor the project to the historical use of the stone in other Sydney buildings, and vegetated pixels reintroduce the notion of Sydney as a city of parks (in this case a textured vertical garden that many can enjoy),” says Crone.

    “Distribution and number of each pixel type varies according to the cardinal direction, in order to balance views, urban-scale tactility and human-scale experience, and energy performance.”

    The building will also integrate with the existing heritage-listed Foley Brothers warehouse at the back of the site and feature a public domain and through-site link that will incorporate high quality public art and be designed by Occulus. 

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    CERTAINTY FOR APDG AND CIRCULAR QUAY

    The project is one in a spate of new developments planned, underway or completed at Circular Quay, and one in a cluster proposed for the Alfred, Pitt, Dally and George street block (APDG). It will join Kerry Hill’s recently approved 57-storey luxury residential tower at 1 Alfred Street, the just-completed 200 George Street by Francis Jones Morehen Thorp and a new 250 metre commercial tower at 174-182 George Street which is currently undergoing a design competition for tender.

    Further east the AMP Capital precinct is set to undergo a $1billion overhaul which will include a massive 200-metre-high stacked tower at 50 Bridge Street designed by Danish architects, 3XN and a number of other projects designed by Australia’s JPW, Make Architecture, Silvester Fuller, SJB and Carterwilliamson.

    Redevelopment plans for The Coca Cola Amatil building at the eastern end of Circular Quay have also resurfaced after a few tumultuous years involving the building’s ownership, and plans are also well underway to upgrade the historic Cambells Stores to the Quay’s north west.

    Kuma and Crone’s DA is currently with planning and open to public submission.

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