A design team led by internationally renowned architecture firm PTW Architects has won the competition for the design of the proposed development of the former Cumberland Newspapers headquarters site in Parramatta.

The competition design by PTW Architects, award-winning practice Collins and Turner, and landscape architects McGregor Coxall, to be located at 142 Macquarie Street, Parramatta in close proximity to the CBD, was selected by an independent design jury.

The winning design features three mixed-use towers comprising of a 60-storey residential tower along with an additional 35-level and a 25-level building housing 964 residential apartments, commercial spaces as well as various retail, restaurant and bar facilities, the option of a hotel and serviced apartment component of up to 150 rooms, and open spaces to create a vibrant epicentre for the community, all coming together to form a dynamic new civic plaza.

Elaborating on their design vision, PTW Director Siobhan McInerney explained that the tallest residential tower will energise the new plaza directly, with the two taller towers responding to one another and the skyspace between them creating an exciting silhouette. The uppermost portion of the tallest tower has been designed to allow solar access into its eastern apartments.

A strong east-west link allows pedestrians to walk directly through the site to the public reserve, while allowing the new hotel to activate the plaza directly. The idea is built on an awareness of current public realm design thinking, which encourages serious activation of public spaces while still nurturing the fine-grained human scale of laneways and other more intimate external spaces.

Materials chosen for the design include glass and powder-coated aluminium, with a metallic colour palette of cool silvers contrasting with warm bronze and copper tones. Sun shading devices and their colour modulation will allow the towers to glisten in the sun, making their facades more dynamic. Brick is used extensively throughout the new plaza.

Collins and Turner’s proposal for the middle height 35-storey building combines hotel and residential accommodation, along with a range of facilities for the public, patrons, and residents including restaurants, function and fitness centres, and a spectacular rooftop pool club. The external form of the building is modified from the planning controls to maximise solar access to both the building and nearby heritage sites, and is designed to appear from a distance as a 3-dimensional collage of woven multi-toned metallic tapestries.

PTW Practice Leader, Simon Parsons said the team worked tirelessly to create a concept that would please both Dyldam and the community. They now look forward to creating this design vision, which will go a long way in transforming Sydney’s second biggest CBD, Parramatta. He added that their latest involvement in the CBD follows earlier projects on 130 George Street in 2006 and the Parramatta Court House.

PTW has established a strong foothold in Sydney’s residential apartment market, designing acclaimed projects such as Pacific Bondi Beach in Bondi, the Alexander at Barangaroo, Poly Horizon in Epping and The Miller in North Sydney in addition to their role as collaborating architects on the One Central Park project with Ateliers Jean Nouvel. The Cumberland Newspapers site is especially important for PTW Architects as it will be the first residential project designed by the firm in Parramatta.

Image: New plaza view (60- and 25-storey towers by PTW Architects, 35-storey by Collins and Turner)