Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for
Sydney harbour skyscraper

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Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper

News: British firm Wilkinson Eyre Architects has won a competition to design a $1.5 billion hotel skyscraper on the harbourfront in Sydney, Australia.

The proposal by last year's World Building of the Year winners beat submissions from international firm Kohn Pedersen Fox and Chicago practice Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, which recently unveiled plans for Mumbai's tallest tower.

The news comes two months after plans were announced for what will be Australia's tallest building, a 388-metre-high tower in Melbourne, while last month British architect Grimshaw submitted plans for a 90-storey skyscraper in a suburb of Sydney.

Wilkinson Eyre's planned 235-metre-tall skyscraper, located in the Barangaroo South area near Sydney Harbour Bridge, will be occupied by a six-star luxury hotel, The Crown Sydney Hotel Resort.

Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper

The winning design is inspired by nature, according to the architects. "Its curved geometry emanates from three petal forms which twist and rise together," said Paul Baker, director at Wilkinson Eyre.

"The first petal peels off, spreading outward to form the main hotel room accommodation, with the remaining two twisting together toward the sky."

Chris Wilkinson, director of Wilkinson Eyre, said: "My ambition is to create a sculptural form that will rise up on the skyline like an inhabited artwork, with differing levels of transparency, striking a clear new image against the sky."

The building will contain around 350 guestrooms and suites, four restaurants, a day spa, rooftop pool and high-end shops.

Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper

Crown Resorts chairman James Packer said the building would be an "instantly recognisable" landmark for the city.

"Its iconic curves and fine lines celebrate the harbour and create an architectural 'postcard' that will help attract international tourists and assist Sydney to compete with other global destinations," he said.

Wilkinson Eyre's Gardens by the Bay tropical garden in Singapore was named World Building of the Year at last year's World Architecture Festival, where we filmed an interview with the firm's Chris Wilkinson.

Other projects by Wilkinson Eyre include a kilometre-long cable car over the river Thames in London and a PVC tent that hosted basketball during the London 2012 Olympics – see all architecture by Wilkinson Eyre.

Here's some more information from Crown Resorts:


Crown announces Wilkinson Eyre Architects as the Winning Design for Crown Sydney Hotel Resort

Crown Resorts today announced that Wilkinson Eyre Architects had been successful as the winning design for the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort. The joint judging panel unanimously recommended the Wilkinson Eyre design to Crown, following an extended competition to design the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort at Barangaroo South on the city's harbourfront.

The final three designs by internationally renowned architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Wilkinson Eyre Architects were judged by a panel consisting of representatives from Crown Resorts, Lend Lease, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning. All were praised for their professionalism and innovative designs. The firms presented their designs to the judges last week, and the panel made a formal recommendation to Crown on the suitability of each design and its ability to achieve the desired vision and outcomes for Barangaroo and Crown.

Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper

Crown Resorts Chairman, James Packer, thanked the judging panel and congratulated Wilkinson Eyre and its key architects Chris Wilkinson and Paul Baker. "Wilkinson Eyre have an incredible record of achievement and I am certain they will deliver Sydney an iconic building we can all be proud of. This great city deserves a building that is truly special and Wilkinson Eyre's design delivers it. It's a wonderful moment for Crown."

Discussing the hotel's iconic sculptural design, Mr Packer said: "When completed, Crown Sydney will be instantly recognisable around the world. Its iconic curves and fine lines celebrate the harbour and create an architectural ‘postcard’ that will help attract international tourists and assist Sydney to compete with other global destinations."

On winning the design competition, Chris Wilkinson, Founding Director, Wilkinson Eyre Architects stated: "Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it is a great privilege to design such a significant building on the waterfront. My ambition is to create a sculptural form that will rise up on the skyline like an inhabited artwork, with differing levels of transparency, striking a clear new image against the sky."

Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper
Proposal by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Paul Baker, Director, Wilkinson Eyre Architects added: "The architecture takes its inspiration from nature, composed of organic forms that provide an abstract, sculptural shape; it does not try to mimic any particular plant or flower but is derived from the specificity of the site and the client brief. Its curved geometry emanates from three forms which twist and rise together. The first form peels off, spreading outward to form the main hotel room accommodation, with the remaining two twisting together toward the sky."

Todd Nisbet, Crown's Executive Vice President – Strategy & Development, said: "Wilkinson Eyre are world renowned for their sustainable and iconic designs and their great attention to detail. The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is an absolute standout, becoming one of the most recognised tourism assets in the world and an iconic image that is instantly recognisable and linked to Singapore’s new identity as one of Asia’s most important gateway cities."

In October 2012, Crown and Lend Lease invited a number of internationally acclaimed architects for their interest in participating in the Crown Sydney Hotel Architectural Design Competition. The brief to the architects stated: "Crown, Lend Lease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority are seeking a bold and innovative design team to create Australia’s best hotel in Australia’s most exciting new precinct – a new landmark building on Sydney Harbour that will become a destination for international tourists and seekers of luxury."

Wilkinson Eyre wins competition for Sydney harbour skyscraper
Proposal by Kohn Pedersen Fox

Subject to receipt of all necessary approvals and subject to finalisation of commercial arrangements between Crown, Lend Lease and the BDA, the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort will sit on the Lend Lease commercial site at the north western corner of Barangaroo South and will have approximately 350 guestrooms and suites. The typical guest rooms will be some of the largest in Australia and the suites and villas will rival the best in Asia. There will be four restaurants, a café, an ultra-lounge, day spa, roof top pool and luxury retail facilities.

On the planning and development processes to follow, Mr Nisbet, said: "The designs are a result of a design competition initiated by Crown and Lend Lease to select an architect for the Crown Sydney Hotel Resort and are not a formal part of the planning approval process. In the near future, Crown in collaboration with Lend Lease will engage in public consultation and seek approval from the Barangaroo Delivery Authority as landowner to lodge an application to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for all necessary approvals."

Lend Lease has an exclusive dealing agreement with Crown in relation to the development of the hotel resort at Barangaroo South and both parties are working towards final commercial arrangements. The Crown Sydney Hotel Resort Proposal is currently in Stage 2 of the NSW Government's Unsolicited Proposal process.

  • David

    Wilkinson Eyre has not “won a competition to design a $1.5 billion hotel skyscraper on the harbourfront in Sydney”, as this article incorrectly states. The architect has won an internal competition held by Crown Resorts for a purely theoretical casino/hotel project. Government approval has not been given for the project and presently there are in fact other proposals and options being considered.

    This competition is not about architects or buildings, but is instead a ploy to distract the voting public from the real issues: Crown does not have a licence to build a casino, the proposal contradicts all planning policy to date for the proposed site, and normal planning protocols were ignored so that this ridiculous and unwanted edifice could get underserved consideration.

    Sydney’s architectural community has rejected Crown’s cynical attempt to build a crass money-trap for tourists, designed by foreign corporate architects, on public land originally designated for open space and recreational use.

    Dezeen should not be assigning publicity or page space to antisocial architecture.

    • Good

      Your first paragraph states the current state of affairs. It then turns into a self righteous rant, which of course most architects on here applaud.

      “Sydney’s architectural community rejected…” Interesting to quote the opinion of an interest group lambasting another party with interests. A bit hypocritical isn’t it?

      And calling developers architecture is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and also shows an ideological fundamentalism that sits in an ivory tower of delusion. Has nothing to do with the real world out there.

  • guy

    Hear hear David!

  • As a Sydney dweller and design practitioner, I concur with the above statement.

  • Matt

    Seconded, David. Dezeen should not be publishing this propaganda press release, clearly designed to manipulate public understanding and debate.

  • Merton Kidd

    If we are to have an enormous casino edifice here the building could be much more interesting and truly an equal to the opera house by including publicly accessible areas.