Award-winning Sydney mixed-use development with vertical gardens

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Defined by its green walls and cantilevered heliostat reflectors, this large-scale development creates a new gateway to the Sydney CBD. Architect Mark Giles talks about how the design maximises connections with the wider community.

It’s rare to acquire an entire city block for redevelopment, but when it does happen there’s an unparalleled opportunity for developers and architects to make a significant contribution to the fabric of a city. The former Chippendale United Brewery site on the western fringe of the Sydney CBD has been transformed by a masterplanned joint venture between Frasers Property Australia and Sekisui House Australia. But it wasn’t simply a case of throwing out the old for the new. While the developers of the 5.8ha site were looking to raise the benchmark for innovation and sustainability, they were also wanting to preserve key heritage elements and give something back to the city. One Central Park, designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, France and collaborating architectural firm PTW Architects, consequently reflects an holistic approach to urban design, says PTW architect Mark Giles. “This was an opportunity to reinvigorate an entire precinct in what is essentially a city of small villages. Connectivity was crucial – for so many years the old brewery site had been closed off to the public. We needed to open up the entire space, hence the idea of a park-like development that would provide through links along key axes. The site is close to Central Railway Station and two universities, so pedestrian traffic is high. “In designing the tall east tower, we took into account the height of the existing UTS building on the other side of road, where Broadway becomes Parramatta Road, a key arterial route. We chose to match this height so the two towers together create a gateway to the city from the west. There is also a strong urban edge to the development on this side. “In contrast, the residential nature of the Chippendale area to the south is reflected in an undulating facade treatment to the south of the two towers. There is also a liveliness to this elevation, with the balconies stepping in and out – this creates a softer facade.” One Central Park East tower, at 33 storeys, provides 383 apartments, while the 16-storey One Central Park West tower accommodates 240 apartments. Sky at Central Park, the precinct’s premium penthouse and sub-penthouse collection, comprises 38 residences in the top five levels of East tower. The development also boasts a five-level 16,000m2 shopping centre beneath a landscaped podium, a Sky Garden at Level 29, a 6400m2 landscaped public park at ground level – Chippendale Green – plus new public pocket parks. Thirty-three heritage elements have been retained and are being restored for adaptive re-use. These include a prominent tiled archway at Carlton Street, terraces and warehouses, three pubs, the Brewery Yard buildings and brick stack, and the original brewery administration building.

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