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Wynyard Walk

Pedestrian Link in Sydney Reconsiders a Commuter's Experience

In the heart of Sydney sits Wynyard Walk, a fully accessible pedestrian link focused on fluidity. Using large, sinuous volumes of space without any physical interruptions for pedestrians to walk in, the design challenges the perception of a commute by shifting the emphasis from efficiency of travel to the quality of experience.

The most impressive feat of the site is that it cuts the walk from Wynyard Station to the Barangaroo waterfront from 15 minutes down to six by avoiding steep inclines and road crossings in the city’s central business district.

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The design concept draws on the natural geology of the Sydney Basin, with its landscape of deep cliffs, gorges, beaches and estuaries carved by erosion. This inspired certain materials, such as concrete and stone to ground the project, while lighter elements such as glass and metal provide airy canopies that filter natural and artificial light.

To anticipate how people would act in this space, they considered how people follow the path of least resistance when they are in water. To promote linear movement, certain materials and detailing such as LED strip lighting and transparent glass panels were incorporated for wayfinding. The shape of the canopy was parametrically designed and tested in wind models to safeguard it for weather protection while allowing fresh air and natural light in.

Currently, the station digests about 20,000 commuters an hour. The western portal and glass canopy acts as the most visible landmarks of the project, increasing traffic capacity of the station to meet current and future demands.

The full design plan also injects other developments to make the site more cohesive. In addition to the nine-meter-wide pedestrian tunnel, the full plan also includes a bridge, plaza and a new civic building.


Transport for NSW




Sydney, Australia

Completion Date

December 2016


1,600 square meters


2018 Australia Interior Design Awards (AIDA) in Best of State (Commercial Design), New South Wales

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2018 Australia Interior Design Awards (AIDA) in Public Design

2018 Australia Interior Design Awards (AIDA) in Award for Sustainability Advancement

2018 Driven by Design Award in GOV: Urban Design

Connecting one of Sydney’s busiest transport interchanges to Barangaroo, Wynyard Walk’s architectural expression creates a civic presence and a socially sustainable piece of infrastructure to Sydney’s downtown.

Napoleon Plaza is the centerpiece of the project and connects the pedestrian tunnel through steps, elevators and escalators directly to the ground level.

A lifecycle costing analysis of the tunnel lighting reduced the carbon footprint, with natural daylight supplemented by the use of LED strip lighting throughout the project.

Positioned at the Clarence Street entrance of the Station, the 23-metre wide Wynscreen combines art, culture and LED technology to create a series of visual experiences.

Materials were selected for environmental performance, and all can be recycled. For example, the use of GRC panels instead of precast reduced the need for steel reinforcement.