Travelling from point A to point B in a city as dense as Sydney can be as frustrating as it is disorientating. Not only does the Woods Bagot-design Wynyard Walk have the practical effect of simplifying the journey between Sydney CBD and Barangaroo, it also makes it architecturally interesting.
The nine-metre wide, 180-metre long tunnel allows pedestrians – as many as 20,000 every hour – to get from Wynyard Station to the Barangaroo waterfront in approximately six minutes. Without it, the trip would take roughly 15 minutes and involve steep inclines and road crossings.
It isn’t just about efficiency and convenience, though. Incorporating a plaza and new civic building, Wynyard Walk is also about injecting architecture into the public realm – or what Arup director Nille Juul-Sørensen might call “hacking” the design.
Woods Bagot incorporated a number of sustainability elements into the design, which is ultimately intended to respond to and complement its city context. The materials were selected for their environmental performance and their ability to be recycled or re-used. For instance, LED strip lighting was incorporated, and the architects opted for GRC panels over precast.
The design and choice of materials were additionally inspired by the local topography – specifically, the coastal cliffs, gorges, beaches and estuaries that have been carved by erosion. Solid materials such as concrete and stone dominate the design, while lighter elements like glass and metal form canopies that act as filters for both natural and artificial sources of light.
“A metaphor for the fluid flow of pedestrians, the design references the movement of water as, like water, people follow the path of least resistance,” reads the design statement.
“The linearity of movement is reinforced through materials and detailing to enhance wayfinding and create a unified experience.”
Wynyard Walk was officially opened in September 2016. The Woods Bagot-designed project recently received commendations for Public Architecture and Urban Design at the 2017 NSW Architecture Awards.