Urbis Think Tank
Building it tall downtown
There are two precincts in Central Sydney that facilitate heights up to the maximum of 235 metres (65+ storeys) permitted within Central Sydney. However, our recent work on the Brookfield Multiplex project at 115 Bathurst Street highlighted the numerous constraints that significantly limit the number of sites where this height can actually be realised. The southerly of the two precincts is immediately south-east of Sydney Town Hall, and is generally bounded by George, Bathurst, Castlereagh and Liverpool Streets (see below).
On face value, this area constitutes quite a large precinct of Central Sydney. However, it is an area that has been substantially capitalised with buildings well below the allowable height, and contains numerous heritage buildings, including the 1939 Water Board building on the southern half of the Brookfield Multiplex site. In addition to the further constraints of consolidating a developable parcel, achieving required setbacks to adjoining properties and addressing potential view loss and overshadowing impacts, it also straddles the Cross-City Tunnel and the Town Hall to Central underground rail line, imposing significant geotechnical and structural constraints.
Within this context we were very pleased to recently obtain Stage 1 Development Consent for the building envelope of a residential tower to this maximum height, working with Kann Finch Architects on behalf of Brookfield Multiplex. Key to obtaining this approval was early engagement with Senior Council officers and a proactive approach to identifying and resolving key site planning issues, such as the appropriate podium height, on a site surrounded by numerous heritage items with a range of street edge heights.
Following this approval it will be necessary to conduct an international design competition to select the architect for the detailed design resolution of the building. This will result in the highest standards of design excellence and will create a new landmark on the Sydney skyline, being the tallest building in Sydney (after Centrepoint Tower).
Along with other recent projects, such as Fraser’s Lumiere apartments, we anticipate that the Brookfield project will attract further investment to the southern precinct. However, as this occurs view corridors and tower separation will become increasingly important, and realising the theoretical potential of sites will require complex site consolidations and creative design solutions.
For more information email Ian Cady