Reputed architecture firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer (TZG) has been appointed by the NSW Government to design the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct redevelopment project. A concept design prepared by Bates Smart and Aspect Studios was approved in May 2015. Appointed through a tender process, TZG will coordinate design works across the precinct.

The redevelopment centres around two piers in Walsh Bay: Pier 4/5 will be redeveloped with upgraded spaces for the Sydney Theatre Company, Australian Theatre for Young People and Bangarra Dance Company while Pier 2/3 will be transformed into a new 450-seat auditorium for the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Some of the highlights of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct redevelopment project include the creation of a new waterfront square between the two piers with steps leading down to the water; a floating stage supported by sliding bridges, connecting the two wharves, which will turn the waterfront into a performance space; and new restaurants and bars surrounding the square.

The industrial heritage spaces in the precinct will also house creative events and festivals, including the Biennale of Sydney.

Similar to how the Sydney Opera House had a profound impact on the fabric of Australian arts and culture when it opened in 1973, the Walsh Bay redevelopment is also expected to become a distinctive and accessible public celebration of the arts in Sydney and NSW, says TZG Director Peter Tonkin.

The redevelopment will be funded through the NSW Government’s $600 million Arts and Cultural Infrastructure Fund, which has also allocated $202 million for a substantial upgrade to the Sydney Opera House’s concert hall designed by ARM Architecture.

The development application for Walsh Bay Arts Precinct is expected to be lodged at the end of 2016 and construction will begin in 2017 after approval.

Image: A proposed floating stage in the redevelopment of Walsh Bay Arts Precinct (Courtesy: Arts NSW)