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    Sydney’s tallest residential building in Chatswood features exciting ambiguous design

    Geraldine Chua

    Metro Grand at Sydney’s Chatswood, designed by Cox Richardson and developed by the Galileo Group and ISPT, has reached its full habitable height at 240 metres above sea level, making it the city’s highest residential building.

    Despite crowning at only 46 stories compared to World Tower in the CBD, which has 47 floors, the building is able to clinch the title because Chatswood is already 100 metres above sea level. Taking into account the architectural ‘blade’ at the top of the building, the project pushes the 264 metres mark.

    Metro Grand is part of a $500m trio of buildings that aim to fully integrate resort-style living in the heart of Chatswood. Metro View (31 storeys) and Metro Spire (42 stories) were completed in June, while Metro Grand is expected to be completed before the year ends.

    The three ‘shimmering’ apartment towers become increasingly transparent as they soar above the Chatswood Transport Interchange. Finely-detailed metallic grids and glass curtain walls give the facades a crystalline sheen, with feature blades folding at the top of each building creating distinct crowns.

    “The sleek metal and glass curtain walls emphasise the building’s height, while the exceptionally slender forms are achievable due to compact floor plates and shorter common corridors to increase sunlight penetration,” said Cox Richardson’s director, Nick Tyrrell, adding that this slenderness allows for more corner apartments, multiple views, cross ventilation and grid penetration.

    “The towers express symbolic connections to the north, south and west via the feature blade façade of each tower. These blades provide a city-scale signal or beacon expressing the broader rail network available to residents and the general public.”

    Apartments in the tower are defined by floor to ceiling glass, steel curtain walls and diadem, or blade crowns, giving residents unobstructed views east to Sydney Heads, south across the CBD, and north over Ku-ring-gai National Park, and allowing for maximum national light penetration.

    Each unit also features wintergardens for versatile living, creating fluid spaces that bring the outside in, or forming separate rooms when closed.

    Labelling the design as excitingly ‘ambiguous’, Tyrrell notes that a restrained elegance achieved by the enclosure of external balconies will improve the building’s amenity by controlling wind speeds on the balcony. The feature blade wall on each tower kicks out as a skirt to deal with down draughts on the street below. Aesthetically, these elements make it hard to tell if the building is commercial in function and genre.

    Designed to be a transport-oriented development, it is hoped that residents of the 553 apartments across the three Metro buildings will not need to use their car to get to work, meet friends, or do the shopping. 

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