For the first time in its 20-year history, the Emporis Skyscraper Award has been awarded to an Australian structure. One Barangaroo in Sydney is the recipient of the prestigious award, which was designed by WilkinsonEyre after a winning worldwide competition to design the building.

Topping out at 275 metres, the building sits on the opulent Sydney waterfront at Barangaroo, offering views of the harbour and Sydney Opera House. Comprising 82 luxury residential properties, 349 hotel rooms and suites and a number of amenities including a spa, infinity pool, waterfront restaurants, caf├ęs, bars and shops, the building is a worthy winner of the award. 

The winner was selected by an international jury of architectural experts. With over 300 skyscrapers completed in 2020 over 100 metres in height, there was certainly a pool of talent to pick from for the jury. The jury believes One Barangaroo’s facade was the deciding factor in it being awarded the winner, with the building’s elegant structural form drawing inspiration from nature, emanating three interwoven petals that twist 90 degrees vertically as they rise up from the ground. 

The magnificent tower stands on a four story high podium, the outer walls of which are decorated with a mantle of marble, outlining the building’s prestige. The concentric nature of the building means that every one of the hotel rooms and residences has a unique configuration and each room has been designed to ensure the views from the floor to ceiling windows are the central focus. At the lower levels, the podium responds to the newly regenerated public realm with terraces and four public entrances, encouraging activity and further enhancing the connection to the building’s harbourside location. 

WilkinsonEyre Co-founder, Chris Wilkinson, says the practice endeavoured to create a structure of iconic proportions.

“The idea was to create a sculptural form that rises up on the skyline like an inhabited artwork with different levels of transparency. An elegant structural form, the building takes full advantage of the panoramic views of Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the relationship with its special Darling Harbour site. The way a tower reaches the sky is important to me – in the past you would find the plant on the upper levels but, with this building, the petals twist and turn as the building rises up to the sky. Equally important is how the building meets the ground – one petal extends to the ground providing a continuous line down the west elevation of the building, which is pretty unique.”

Australia’s first carbon neutral precinct, the Barangaroo precinct has become one of Sydney’s premier destinations. The building exceeds current standards for energy performance, and works in conjunction with Barangaroo’s zero waste strategy and the Climate Positive Development Program. 

During the build of One Barangaroo, developers Crown Group contributed significantly to the clean-up and remediation of the Barangaroo precinct, with over 300 trees planted during construction within the grounds. One Barangaroo has created over 2,000 jobs for New South Wales and celebrates local craftsmanship with hundreds of artworks by Australian artists on display.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic impacting the construction industry and reducing the number of skyscrapers completed by 20 percent compared to 2019, the top 10 buildings selected for the Emporis Skyscraper Awards highlights the architectural prowess offered by designers in a time of crisis. The competition anticipates that numbers will return to similar figures of 2019, underlining the resilience of the construction industry.

To see the runner up and full top 10 for the Emporis Skyscraper Award, head to