SOM plans sustainable skyscrapers for "Australia's Silicon Valley"
High-profile firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has been chosen, along with local architect Fender Katsalidis, to design a pair of skyscrapers in Sydney's Central Business District. The AUD2.5-billion (roughly US$1.8-billion) scheme will incorporate sustainable design, including solar power, and feature high-tech facades that help ventilate the towers' interiors.
Named Central Place Sydney, the project was selected following an architecture competition and is envisioned as a key part of a larger development in the area called Tech Central, which the local government refers to as "Australia's Silicon Valley." It consists of 36-story and 39-story office towers. Their overall form is designed to mitigate wind forces and maximize natural light inside, and they will be joined by an offset low-rise sandstone tiered building.
"Located at the southern edge of Henry Deane Plaza, the central building is a dynamic urban form that shapes the precinct's identity," says SOM. "It ascends in a series of tiers, which are staggered to open up garden terraces and views at each level. The curved sandstone forms respond to the scale and materiality of the precinct's existing character. The ground floor is highly permeable, accommodating a retail experience that flows into the plaza, while the upper commercial levels will be linked to the new towers to create campus-style floorplates."
All three buildings will feature greenery on their interior, exterior, and roofs. Additionally, solar panels will reduce their draw on the grid and AI-powered facades will ensure a supply of fresh air to their interiors as well as preventing them from being unduly warmed by the Sun – presumably with automated blinds, but details are light at this early stage. We do know that the windows will be operable though.
The project will create around 150,000 sq m (1.6 million sq ft) of flexible office space and retail space. According to SOM, each floor is conceived as a "neighborhood" with winter gardens, light-filled atriums, and outdoor terraces breaking up the monotony of the office space.
Many people are wondering if COVID-19 will cause a decline in the traditional office building, what with many people now working from home, but Australia seems to be betting big that it won't. In addition to Central Place Sydney and the larger Tech Central development, city authorities over in Melbourne recently gave the thumbs-up to a twisting skyscraper that will be the country's tallest building once complete.
We've no word yet on when Central Place Sydney is expected to begin construction.