New redevelopment project in the heart of Sydney’s central business district links downtown to the waterfront with new tower

In central Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, is a somewhat run-down piece of public land called Cockle Bay Park. This park is now the key to revitalizing this section of downtown Sydney by reconnecting to the waterfront while adding a spectacular new tower.

The 73,000 square meter project, which includes 63,000 square meters of tower program atop a 10,000 square meter public plinth, rests at the heart of Sydney, and is co-led by The GPT Group and AMP Capital. The Copenhagen-based architects at Henning Larsen have won the contract to design the project.

We are incredibly proud to have won this important design competition in the heart of Sydney, and excited by the opportunity to design a destination that is distinctly human-scaled while also offering world-class retail, office, and public space,” says Henning Larsen Partner Viggo Haremst.

Sydney is unique in how it entwines a friendly, local community atmosphere within a cosmopolitan city – we see Cockle Bay Park as an opportunity to reflect this and to emphasize the best of what Sydney can be,” he added.

Cockle Bay Park links Sydney’s CBD to the waterfront at Darling Harbour, covering an area over the Western Distributor freeway that currently acts as a barrier between the city center, the waterfront, and the thriving Pyrmont district.

The “ground” level in fact comprises multiple; an expansive, state-of-the-art retail program sits alongside and is woven into an expansive public park that stretches from the elevated main level to the waterfront below. Wide pedestrian paths frame a continuous public path through the development, and serve as the link between the shops, restaurants, and bars on site.

The design team says “Cockle Bay Park focuses on the eye-level experience of the development’s two scales: the city scale, where the tower joins the skyline, and the village scale, where people move between the city center and the waterfront.

Cockle Bay Park’s unbroken silhouette slips seamlessly among the towers of Sydney’s CBD, breaking down into more human-scaled pieces as it reaches the public and retail spaces at the ground level. This interplay of scales is respectful of both Sydney’s urban fabric and the diverse community of people it is designed for.

The tower, which is threaded together by public space, defines a new type of high-rise development that mixes traditional retail, office, and public program into a unified, human centered environment.

We are constantly inspired by how buildings can facilitate the unexpected, fostering experiences that speak to the idea of a true urban destination,” says Haremst. “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.

Henning Larsen worked with partners McGregor Coxall (landscape), geoffreything (retail) in the concept design stage. Henning Larsen’s design was chosen from six shortlisted designs by UN Studio + Cox Architecture, Woods Bagot, Grimshaw, FJMT, and Wilkinson Eyre.

All images courtesy of Henning Larsen.

See Henning Larsen website.

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