A recent project from Fitzpatrick + Partners architects in Parramatta, NSW, responds to lighting and aspect requirements through a play on geometric shapes and a hybrid glass façade. 

Speaking with Architecture and Design,  Design Leader for the A$167.5 million multipurpose Eclipse Tower, Kiran Jagdev, describes the glass cladded building as simple, elegant and a remarkable local landmark.

Situated in the commercial hub of the Parramatta CBD, the brief requested Jagdev respond to the key views and light to the north as well as provide a flexible and efficient floor plate system.

The response to this brief from Jagdev and her design team was a 19 storey geometric form generated from a pure ellipse.

The pragmatic shape points a widened façade towards the north for views and natural lighting, while a contracting narrowing to the south of the building supplies a more efficient core.

This dualistic response to light and aspect is provided by what Jagdev explains as two opposing facades with contradicting goals and orientation.

“There are essentially two facades East; West and South are one continuous curved skin boldly treated with frit patterns which subtly change and merge shade from the sun. The North facade, with tapered curved blades, responds to the northerly sun angles, providing passive shading,” says Jagdev.

The detail is in the glass where fourteen types of blades, separately tapered and curved, complete the requirement to address solar heat, noise and aspect.

The seamless curve in the external shell is provided by a double glazed spandrel glazing system in conjunction with solid façade zones, partially solid zones (appearing as printed frit patterns on the glass) and sun hoods.

Above: The Northern façade captures the natural light and aspect.
Below: The Southern façade narrows to a efficient core. Images: Tanja Milbourne

This system creates a visually seamless wrap to the building form as well as a tailored solution to each façade zone and orientation. 

The building’s 19 storeys of 1,320sqm floor plates are occupied by commercial tenants, and since completion has achieved both 5 Star Green Star and 5 Star NABERS ratings as built.

While the façade and building shell take the bulk the energy performance credit, Jagdev’s explanation of the floor plate system and building’s core placement shows that the structure performs in other areas.

“The southern core space is highly efficient, mainly through the use of a single all-floor lift bank which, compared with a traditional low/high rise arrangement, reduces the number of elevators by three,” she said.

Another internal result is the large floor to above ceiling windows which allow the façade-directed penetration of deep into the floor plate.

“There is a high degree of natural light penetration into the office spaces, and some back of house facilities, such as the bathrooms and the fire stairs,” explains Jagdev.


“The result is a simple and elegant building which has quickly become a remarkable and memorable local landmark.”

The Eclipse Parramatta has been shortlisted by the Australian Institute of Architects for the Australian Architecture Awards to be announced in November.










Above: The office interiors and building entrance. Images: Graham Steer and Mark Syke
Below: The elevator bank and the exterior façade in it's fritted pattern. Images: Mark Syke and Tanja Milbourne