As Sydney continues to see the rise in skyscrapers and other towering structures, Hassell decided to take the less conventional route for their design of Sydney’s new IMAX theatre and hotel.

In place of the traditional high-rise tower, Hassell’s soon-to-be-constructed building is an undulating, 25-storey form that rises underneath two elevated roadways. Situated near the Hassell and Populous-designed International Convention Centre Sydney, the curve of the glass-based building is somewhat like a sail of the Sydney Opera House. Hassell, however, have settled on a more gymnastic description.

Called ‘The Ribbon’, the pod-like glass-and-metal building will house a 5-star hotel with over 400 rooms and more than 140 serviced apartments. The project will also act as the replacement venue for Sydney’s iconic IMAX theatre, which had occupied the site previously. Over 1,799 square metres of retail space will also be allocated along the ground level harbour frontage.


In addition to the ribbon-shaped building, the development will see approximately 10,000 square metres of renewed and enhanced public space added to the Darling Harbour tourist precinct. Pedestrian and visual access to Cockle Bay will be opened up from the south of Darling Harbour, and the new civic square will be created adjacent to the IMAX cinema, edging onto the waterfront. The children’s playground that currently sits on the site will not be demolished, but rather will be allocated 30 percent more space.


The Ribbon has been designed to achieve a 5 Star Green Star – Design and As-Built v1 rating, a 4-4.5 Star NABERS Energy rating for the hotel, and a 3-3.5 Star NABERS Water rating for the hotel.

Originally approved in 2014, construction on The Ribbon is finally scheduled to commence next month. The project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.  

Images: Grocon