Grimshaw submits plans for
Australian skyscraper


Grimshaw submits plans for Australian skyscraper

News: London firm Grimshaw has submitted plans for a 90-storey skyscraper in a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

The Aspire Tower, designed for a competition held by Parramatta City Council, will have spires reaching to 336 metres and a roof height of 306 metres – higher than the Q1 tower in Queensland, which is currently the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.

Grimshaw submits plans for Australian skyscraper

However, it's likely Grimshaw's tower will only hold that title for a few years or months, if at all, after plans were approved last month for a 388-metre-tall tower in the Australian city of Melbourne, due to complete by 2018.

The Aspire Tower is designed to twist upwards from its street-level alignment, maximising sunny northern views for its residents and twisting inwards to the north to disperse the force of the wind.

Grimshaw submits plans for Australian skyscraper

As well as the 700 apartments arranged around 14 six-storey atriums, the tower will include a hotel, bars, restaurants and shops plus a viewing deck over the top two floors.

Grimshaw partner Andrew Cortese said the firm wanted to set a new standard in sustainable urban development. "We hope that the tower will be recognised as a landmark through its balanced achievement of programmatic and environmental innovations, its rationality and buildability, and its uniquely sculptural form," he commented.

Grimshaw submits plans for Australian skyscraper

Last year Nicholas Grimshaw's firm was awarded the Carbuncle Cup – a prize for architectural ugliness – for its steel and glass cocoon containing the historic Cutty Sark tea clipper in London. Other projects by the firm we've featured include Bijlmer Station in Amsterdam and a museum of steel in Mexico – see all architecture by Grimshaw.

At the beginning of the year we rounded up the ten tallest skyscrapers due to complete in 2013, including the 383-metre Eton Place Dalian in north-east China and The Domain by Foster + Partners in Abu Dhabi – see all skyscrapers.

Grimshaw submits plans for Australian skyscraper

Here's more information from the architects:

Grimshaw has submitted a Development Application on behalf of Parramatta City Council for a landmark mixed-use tower. The Aspire Tower emerged from a design excellence competition held by the Council and is set to establish a new benchmark for innovative, passive-environmental design in Australian high-rise developments. Designed to act as a catalyst project for Parramatta Square, the tower provides high density, urban residential living which is not only affordable but also sustainable.

As one of the tallest structures in Australia, the engineering of Aspire Tower consciously orientates itself to the wind and to sunlight. The highly adaptable facades accommodate all of the various planning arrangements of apartment type into a modular system. The tower’s striking sculptural form twists upwards from its Church Street alignment to maximise the capture of the sun, the breeze and northern views for its residents.

The accommodation within the tower is situated in two east and west facing wings which are connected to a perforated central core. These wings open up to the south to catch the prevailing air movements, while twisting inwards to the north to disperse the downward force of the wind. By resolving wind and ventilation, the tower creates a comfortable and accessible habitat at all levels, in both its private and public domains. The design has consciously set out to ensure that all apartments have an equity of view, ventilation and light.

Sitting 90 storeys above ground, the tower’s spires reach 336m, while the 306m roof height of the habitable terraces creates a distinctive silhouette for the city’s emerging skyline. The mixed-use nature of the tower also creates a new precinct with 700 residential apartments. These ‘vertical neighbourhoods’ are configured around 14 six storey communal atria with soft and hard landscaping. The precinct also includes 150 hotel rooms, bars, restaurants and retail as well as a spectacular public function including a restaurant space, experience centre and viewing deck over the top two floors.

The tower will also create a new public and civic realm for Parramatta. This new public realm, created from the re-development of Church Street and a new square on axis to St John’s Cathedral, forms the western precinct of Parramatta Square. A vibrant public domain will emerge from the activities on the square with the perimeter uses of retail, building lobbies and transport connections.

Speaking about the achievements and ambitions of the project, Grimshaw Partner, Andrew Cortese, said: "Grimshaw’s approach is derived from the practice’s research on the habitat of tall buildings and on the design of the public and environmental infrastructure of cities. Aspire Tower on Parramatta Square is a rare opportunity to invest in and construct a viable and vital piece of city-making.

"The project has the ability to transform its place and set a new achievable standard in affordable and sustainable urban development. We hope that the tower will be recognised as a landmark through its balanced achievement of programmatic and environmental innovations, its rationality and buildability, and its uniquely sculptural form."

  • Great and beautiful architectural plan. Well done Grimshaw.

  • Charlie

    It's BIG!

  • Chris

    Wait… but that skyscraper actually looks nice? Call the RIBA, something’s not right.

    • ZumthorFanatic

      Well, it’s Grimshaw. Expect nothing less from a great architect.

      • lokjhg

        How about their Cutty Sark project? Let’s be honest that’s pretty ugly.

  • mr f
  • el rad

    Meh… a big tower with a slight kink. What progressive architecture.

  • Nathan

    Nice tower, but 90 storeys in Parramatta? Talk about overkill.

  • Reverend Juan

    The implication that this is plagiarism of BIG is misguided. There are countless examples (built and unbuilt) of similar forms from the 60s and early 70s (think Paul Rudolph); or review ‘progressive’ architectural journals from that era, such as L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui.

    For me, that does not detract from this or the BIG project, but simply places the work within the greater context and continuity of modernism from a formal perspective. The questions of height, siting, and overall appropriateness are relevant but not possible to assess from the images posted here.

    Dezeen, is it possible to post plans, site info, sections or other architecturally substantive illustrations for this project? Thanks.

    • dezeen_intense


      I'm afraid we don't have the drawings for this project at the moment.


  • nicolas

    It’s just like a BIG building but the renderings are less nice.

  • Jorge Alvarez

    I live locally, close to Parramatta. This building looks good in graphic representations, but they never show it’s base. It is designed without a podium, and will be built onto the Church Street mall (a pedestrian street which includes a town square).

    It will be located next to the two storey heritage listed Parramatta Town Hall (1881) and opposite a small park from St Johns Church (1817), which is about 12m in height. I am very concerned that the wind effects from this building will severely compromise the comfort of pedestrians on the mall and it’s scale will compromise the integrity of the historic precinct it will be built in.

    In my opinion, this is a misguided project by Parramatta City Council. They have used compulsory acquisition laws to forcibly purchase the site and adjoining sites to create a new town centre precinct, which is completely out of scale and character to the rest of the city. Several deals have fallen through with finding private developer partners to realise their vision. Why? Because it’s completely inappropriate to the centre in terms of aesthetics, scale, amenity and economy.