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New transport infrastructure is super-charging development in North Sydney, the city’s second largest CBD, with global architecture studio Woods Bagot playing a significant role in the precinct’s revival after a decade of dormancy.
Woods Bagot has two projects in North Sydney under construction while a third has development approval as commercial and residential developers move to capitalise on increased interest in the suburb and its spectacular Sydney Harbour views.
Catalyst for change is the Victoria Cross integrated station development by Lendlease, part of the expanding Sydney Metro rail network, which when complete will offer rapid services to Martin Place in central Sydney and also connect to the city’s north-west.
In addition to Victoria Cross, which includes an underground metro station, 42-storey mixed use tower, a retail and hospitality precinct, Lendlease has partnered with Keppel REIT to fund the striking Blue & William office development, designed by Woods Bagot, which has topped out.
Blue & William under construction
Rapid progress is being made on Blue & William, and the building’s signature terracotta-framed windows developed by Prism Facades – the largest weigh over a tonne and are more than 12 metres square to amplify the view – are being installed by builder FDC.
In a delicate operation, each of the glass windows is assembled by workers on the top level of the 10-storey building before being carefully lowered and slotted into place by crane.
Architect Jason Fraser said the deployment of terracotta at Blue & William, positioned on the south-west edge of North Sydney’s business district, was inspired by the suburban landscape of surrounding suburbs such as McMahons Point and Milsons Point.
“Its character is a direct response to the neighbourhood, a place of red bricks and terracotta roofs leading down to the Harbour edge, wrapped around a site specific, future-conscious workplace,” Mr Fraser said.
He said the terracotta, kiln-fired and glazed in a reddish-ochre finish, adds character to the glass façade, while the building’s form is enhanced by a series of cascading terraces magnifying the water and city panorama.
Lisa Gordon, Head of Commercial Development, Lendlease, said North Sydney is on a path to complete transformation, with new commercial developments committing to the future vision for the area.
“We know that people are looking for the next-generation in workplaces, and our Victoria Cross Tower, together with Blue & William, represent the future of placemaking,” she said.
“Blue & William reflects the latest thinking in workplace and will offer modern workspaces that facilitate flexible and collaborative working, as well as sweeping harbour views from the floor to ceiling windows and outdoor terraces.
“We’re increasingly finding that prospective tenants are seeking out high quality, sustainable and flexible office spaces in prime locations, and Blue & William delivers on just that and more.”
Blue & William is on track for completion next year and features 14,000 square metres of net lettable area with generous floor plates.
Meanwhile, across the Pacific Highway at 168 Walker Street, foundation works for the 28-storey Woods Bagot-designed luxury apartment tower Aura by Aqualand have finished and the building is coming out of the ground.
Mr Fraser said Aura’s design was inspired by nature and its apartments are positioned to take full advantage of the spectacular Sydney Harbour views.
“The building’s form is derived from the soft lines of plants and nature characterised by the surrounding deep tree-lined landscape and the curvilinear shoreline of Sydney,” he said.
“Living opportunities are enhanced through highly adaptable units with flexible planning and living options made possible through extensive joinery and wintergardens.”
Nearby, developers Thirdi and Toohey Miller have won North Sydney Council approval for the Warada on Walker office building at 63-68 Walker Street.
The 22-storey building designed by Woods Bagot features a stunning façade influenced by the Waratah flower, the NSW emblem, and work is expected to start by the end of this year.
It offers 27,000 square metres of net lettable area and typical floor plates of 1150sqm.
“There’s interest in new and custom-built offices after this pandemic—you need to have an office that inspires your employees and earns their commute,” said Thirdi co-founder Luke Berry.
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