Australia’s built environment has received much critical acclaim in recent times, but 3XN and BVN’s Quay Quarter Tower takes the cake, following the project being awarded the World Building of the Year prize at the World Architecture Festival.

The world’s largest upcycled building, Quay Quarter Tower consists of five glass ‘villages’ stacked on top of one another. 90 percent of the existing building has been maintained, underlining the sustainable approach taken by 3XN and BVN. Approximately 7.3 million kilograms of embodied carbon has been saved in the reuse of the existing fabric.

Quay Quarter Tower was declared the winner from a field of over 250, including Kerstin Thompson Architecture’s Bundanon Art Museum and the Victorian Pride Centre, designed by BAU GAA Brearley Architects and Urbanists and Grant Amon Architects. 

"The winner was commissioned to provide a building on a world class site, and to retain a huge proportion of an existing fifty-year-old commercial tower," says WAF Programme Director Paul Finch.

"The result was an excellent example of adaptive re-use. It has an excellent carbon story, and it is an example of anticipatory workspace design produced pre-Covid which nevertheless has provided healthy and attractive space for post-pandemic users." 

"The client was prepared to risk building out an idea on a speculative basis - it worked.”

BVN first became involved in the project when it was approached by AMP Capital and City of Sydney to devise the Quay Quarter Sydney masterplan. In doing so they identified Quay Quarter Tower as the centrepiece for the precinct. Next, the client ran an international design competition which was won by Danish architects, 3XN.

BVN remained involved after being appointed as Executive Architect for the tower. The two firms developed the project in detail, resolving the many complex challenges of transforming the original building. Multiplex oversaw the tower’s construction and nominated BVN as the builder’s Lead Consultant. 

Following its completion, reached earlier this year, Quay Quarter Tower achieved 6-star Green Star and 5.5 Star NABERS energy ratings, as well as being WELL Gold certified. BVN is currently undertaking a carbon neutral fitout for one of the tower’s first tenants, spanning three floors.

The announcement of Quay Quarter Tower being declared the World Building of the Year follows on from the development taking out the International High-Rise Award in Frankfurt, Germany.

For the full list of winners at the World Architecture Festival, click here.