Parramatta CBD is undergoing major urban development as the City of Parramatta Council responds to and prepares for large-scale population and economic growth. The redevelopment of Parramatta Square is at the heart of the revitalisation project intended to transform the city into the commercial, civic, cultural and educational centre of Western Sydney, and it incorporates the construction of several major buildings, including Parramatta Civic Centre. DesignInc, in collaboration with Lacoste + Stevenson and Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, won the international competition in 2016 for Parramatta Civic Centre and its design development is now well underway.
Parramatta Civic Centre will embrace technology, reflect transparency in government and mark Sydney’s second largest CBD. The competition jury unanimously endorsed the design, stating “it will form an undeniably modern interface with Parramatta’s history, and deliver a twenty first-century solution within the City of Parramatta Council’s modern smart-city metropolis.”
The landmark building will see a prismatic glass envelopment extend from the sandstone Parramatta Town Hall. Built in 1881, the town hall is in the Victorian Free Classical style with stuccoed brickwork and mouldings, a colonnade and matching parapet and balustrade. While the heritage-listed building will be preserved and its historic character remain visible, the new addition has a futuristic wave-shaped façade of crystalline blocks that slip past and over the Town Hall Auditorium.
Following the sun’s trajectory, stacked crystalline blocks are angled irregularly to become vertical at the northeast corner. This provides for a new lobby at ground level; magnificent interior spaces at the highest levels; and a transparent fin, like a civic spire, for digital-media projections. Event notices, local cultural achievements and art displays will be broadcast via large-scale integrated LED screens. “It will be a canvas for artistic expression in a way we haven’t seen before in a public building,” explains David Stevenson, Principal at Lacoste + Stevenson.
The complex façade can be produced due to innovations in glass technology, and through physical and visual connections it expresses the notion of ‘civic permeability.’ Outside, it offers horizontal permeability with sightlines and sunshine through the building; inside it offers vertical permeability with the use of voids and linking stairs.
A cantilever shelters the entrance to the building, which will provide a state-of-the-art library, council chambers, community meeting rooms, a roof garden and visitor experience centre. Glass blocks strategically omitted from the overall volume allow for integrated garden terraces, and external screens protect interiors from the sun, allowing for views outside and diffusing light inside.
“We’re emulating movement within the building form, creating a contextual volume that respects existing scale at the western extremity, but elsewhere reads as a mobile and dynamic shape, tracking the path of the sun,” Project Director Richard Does describes.
DesignInc is using the latest in Business Information Modelling collaborative tools to work with the Sydney-based Lacoste + Stevenson and Paris-based Manuelle Gautrand Architecture. Using Collaboration for Revit in conjunction with the Cloud, DesignInc’s BIM Manager Nidhi Sharma has established an online hub that allows the three teams to work live on the model from different parts of the world. “It really puts DesignInc at the leading edge of technology,” Nidhi says.
Parramatta Civic Centre will take shape over the next few years with construction be begin 2018 and building completion estimated for March 2020.