Following an international design excellence competition to select the architects for Mirvac’s proposed redevelopment of Sydney’s Harbourside precinct, the jury comprising of influential urban design experts has selected Snøhetta+Hassell Studio to lead the design. The appointment of Snøhetta+Hassell marks an important step forward in Mirvac’s plans to transform Harbourside, Darling Harbour into a new, world class destination for Sydney.

Mirvac chief investment officer Brett Draffen says, “The proposed ~$2 billion redevelopment of the Harbourside precinct is a landmark project in Mirvac’s $28 billion national development pipeline. We are delighted to reach this important milestone and progress the formal design excellence process for the revitalisation of Harbourside, working alongside Place Management NSW.”

According to Draffen, the project will reimagine the Darling Harbour waterfront for the 21st century and create an iconic new precinct in the heart of Sydney. The winning Snøhetta+Hassell design was selected by the jury because it emphatically embraced Mirvac’s vision for Harbourside: to create a place that brings people together, he says.

“The concept for Harbourside is defined and characterised by a network of welcoming public open spaces featuring natural materials and vegetation. At its heart, Guardian Square will become Pyrmont’s new neighbourhood park and community meeting place, with landscaping and moments of art and activation planned to deliver an enlivened precinct that provides locals and visitors alike with a powerful sense of belonging, community and ownership.

“For thousands of years, Aboriginal people lived in and around this area which to them was an important gathering place known as Tumbalong, named after the harbour’s abundance of seafood. Elements of Sydney’s natural landscape have been weaved into the overall design concept for the new precinct.”

The proposed redevelopment of the Harbourside precinct is expected to deliver approximately 24,000 square metres of office space, 7,000 square metres of retail space and 350 luxury apartments. Additionally, the precinct will incorporate 10,000 square metres of public spaces, including the proposed 3,500-square-metre Guardian Square, as well as a widened waterfront promenade for the community to visit and enjoy.

Hassell principal Liz Westgarth says, “The landmark Sydney site of Darling Harbour, previously known as Tumbalong, has a long, rich, and layered history, which provides a unique context for world-class architecture and place-making to inspire future story creation. The continued development of the site’s exceptional character and identity follows in the tradition of the local first nation Gadigal and Wangal people.  The intention for Harbourside is to create a contextual and timeless design that is a place for all.”

Snøhetta Australasia managing director Kaare Krokene says, “We are extremely proud of a design that acknowledges the historic sandstone escarpment landscape of Tumbalong, now known as Darling Harbour. This continues the tradition of shared public space, honouring the first nations Gadigal and Wangal people who saw this as ‘shared country’.”

To transform Harbourside into one of Australia’s most sustainable precincts, Mirvac is targeting a combination of 5 and 6 Star Green Star and WELL ratings.

Harbourside is expected to commence construction in 2023 following the approval process.

The Harbourside design excellence competition jury included Director Design Governance, Government Architect NSW, Paulo Macchia (Chair), Parramatta City Architect, Kim Crestani and City of Sydney, Director Planning, Development & Transport, Graham Jahn, as well as representatives nominated by Place Management NSW and Mirvac.

Images: Supplied