by Zohra KhanApr 21, 2020
Henning Larsen has been announced as the winner of the Cockle Bay Park – a 73,000 sqm urban park for Sydney’s Cockle Bay wharf. The Copenhagen-based firm was among the six shortlists for an international competition that included renowned practices such as FJMT, Grimshaw Architects, Woods Bagot, Wilkinson Eyre and UNStudio-Cox Architecture joint venture.
The development covers an area above the eight lane Western distributor freeway that currently divides the city centre from the waterfront and the thriving Pyrmont district. Henning Larsen’s wining design presents a 183 m high skyscraper hosting office spaces atop a retail podium, and a sprawling elevated park along the Darling Harbour waterfront.
The scheme defines a mix of traditional retail, office, and public programs into a unified, community destination. It envisions the development on two scales - one on the ‘city scale’ where the 63,000 sqm tower will become part of the Sydney skyline, and the ‘village scale’ as a public realm connecting them to the waterfront.
The vertical stacks of cuboidal volumes inconspicuously broken by green lobby spaces stand upright as the tower facing the harbour. While the superstructure features reflective glass and ceramic on the façade, the public and retail spaces on the ground floor use wood and stone.
The tower’s unbroken silhouette, the studio says, “slips seamlessly among the towers of Sydney’s CBD, breaking down into more human-scaled pieces,” on reaching the ground level.
10,000 sqm of area comprising shops, restaurants and bars form the retail plinth. This space is positioned alongside a wide pedestrian boulevard that forms a continuous link with the adjacent harbour and frame panoramic views of the water and the city in the background.
The design also proposes an expansive public park as green lungs in the middle of the cosmopolitan city. It extends from the elevated ground level towards the waterfront below.
The project aims to ring in a new life for the people of Australia’s largest city. “Sydney is unique in how it entwines a friendly local atmosphere within a cosmopolitan city – we see Cockle Bay Park as an opportunity to reflect this and to emphasise the best of what Sydney can be,” says Viggo Haremst, Partner at Henning Larsen.
“I believe our design for Cockle Bay Park will set a new standard for high-rise development, one where the interface between public and commercial realm link to create a strong sense of community,” he adds.
The $650m office and retail development is planned by global investment manager AMP Capital and Australian property and real estate investment giant, The GPT Group. Having received Stage 1 approval in May 2019, it is scheduled to be completed in 2026.