25 Mar 21

‘Fundamentally different’ building wins design excellence competition

Woods Bagot’s competition winning design for the redevelopment of the former Penrith Council Chambers was revealed today.

The design scheme to redevelop the site in Penrith’s CBD is focused equally on community and the commercial to create a building that both benefits the public and delivers a commercially viable workplace of the future.

Woods Bagot principal Jason Fraser described the building as “fundamentally different from commercial buildings of the past.”

“This building will offer a diverse range of experiences where people can work one day in a garden in the sun, the next at a quiet indoor location and the following at a rooftop overlooking the park.

“Reinforcing its place in civic life by providing a multitude of public uses, green space will flow through the site and connect it with the future City park, creating a heart to the civic and education precinct,” Mr Fraser said.

A new forecourt will address the site’s significant corner by stepping the brick building back at the lower four levels, and cantilevering the tower over to reinforce the grandeur of this public space.

Architecturally, the form is articulated as three distinct smaller forms which creates better natural ventilation than a uniform box and can be programmed separately or as a whole allowing the building to flexibly adapt to changing future needs.

The design excellence judging panel comprised independent industry experts, including Kim Crestani, city architect at Parramatta Council and director of Order Architects, who described the project as another exciting example of the innovation and high-quality outcomes that result from the design excellence competition process.

“The Woods Bagot scheme envisions the future of commercial workplace design, and also responds carefully to the surrounding context, in particular the climate and public domain outcomes,” Ms Crestani said.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM said the winning design offered an innovative architectural solution that responded to the competition brief, and future urban character of the Penrith CBD.

“We are thrilled to start working with award-winning architects Woods Bagot to deliver a highly advanced workplace at 131 Henry Street, which will feature a sustainable design, and activated public and retail spaces for the community,” Cr McKeown said.

The redevelopment is intended to set the benchmark for future city developments and be the catalyst for the revitalisation of the Penrith CBD, alongside the council’s investment in a new city park and transformation of Soper Place.

As a key city within Western Sydney, Penrith will be the first to connect to the new Nancy-Bird International Airport at Badgerys Creek and surrounding aerotropolis by metro rail from day one of operations.

The winning design will undergo further design development and refinement with the development application to be lodged by the end of 2021.

“fundamentally different from commercial buildings of the past”

Jason Fraser

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