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    New Martin Place skyscraper by Hassell not to overshadow surrounding architecture

    Nathan Johnson

    The Westpac building at Sydney’s Martin Place, originally designed by Peddle Thorp and Walker Architects (PTW) in 1967, will be demolished in 2016 and rebuilt according to Hassell specifications and a rigorous solar access examination.  

    A new $750 million 32-storey tower, footed by a sandstone podium, will rise from within the existing footprint of the building. However the new addition will be characterised by a unique curving northern façade that is designed to avoid overshadowing the nearby Martin Place and Hyde Park Barracks whilst maximising floor space.

    The site is subject to controls in SLEP 2012, including the Martin Place sun access plane and a maximum building height of 55 metres over the majority of the site. In response to overshadow restrictions, Hassell curved the eastern section of the northern façade so that it will appear suspended 15 metres above the Gothic-spire of the adjoining St Stephen's Uniting Church.

    Describing the planned development, Hassell’s head of design and architecture Tony Grist said the design respected and reflected the surrounding area.

    “The design respects the existing facades that lend Martin Place its character. At street level on Martin Place, the building will feature a low-scale podium, formed of Sydney sandstone blades with the tower rising behind it,” he said.

    “The sandstone solidity and copper spire of St Stephen’s Uniting Church has been a strong influence on the form of the new tower.

    “As the building rises, the curve pulls back from the spire, giving it ‘breathing space’, before curving out again. From street level, the image of the spire will be reflected and scattered in the façade.

    Besides the curving form, the building’s architectural roof also responds to overshadowing requirements and its shape allows the maximum roof plant zone whilst avoiding contributing additional shadowing to Martin Place.

    The tower will feature 40,000sqm of office space spread across large floor plates, and will enjoy views from the seventh floor to the Opera House, Botanical Gardens and Sydney harbour.

    Like the existing PTW building, the new tower will have three frontages to Martin Place, Phillip Street and Macquarie Street, where it will adjoin St Stephen's Uniting church. Also like PTW, Hassell have included a robust sandstone podium in a nod to the surrounding building’s in Martin Place.

    The podium will feature a host of retail and public domain facilities, as well as an open lobby to Macquarie Street with extensive glazing which will blend the internal and external environments.

    The base building is targeting a minimum six-star Green Star Office rating and a minimum 5 Star NABERS energy rating.

    Images: Hassell.

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