When a building reaches a certain size, one could say it becomes ‘too big’ for the Architect to control.

The demands for structure, services, and coordination of many consultations reaches a whole new level; a level where the Architect’s control over design diminishes. Any programmatic intent is forced to give way to the large false ceilings, and imposing lift cores disrupting the floor plates. The opportunity for blurring of spaces is lost, as each is contained and padded by its many service requirements.

The tower has become so high, so big, so driven by its many needs that its position in its urban context is a discussion that for feasibility sakes is saved for smaller buildings. It is completely disconnected, operates on its own with no relation to its surroundings.

The Contemporary Highrise is set in the realm of the East Darling Harbour Barangaroo Competition and proposes a series of networked towers that attempt to accommodate for a highly dense community, while focusing on addressing the nature of Sydney as a rapidly growing city, and questioning the [traditional] nature of the tower as a mixed use environment.

In determining this, the proposed scheme focuses on the opportunities provided by parametric design, allowing structure, lift cores, floor plates and facade to meet at an optimal point where each system is at a maximum efficiency without compensating the design.

Each system explored proved flexible and subtle enough to respond to contingent conditions, and responsive enough to deal with each system. With all these systems reached, a potential design model is realized; one that can redefine Sydney’s tower typology. Rather than being a series of single isolated buildings, the city can act as an integrated network of built environments and thus, allow for rapid urban growth and extension.

Project Team: Ben Yee, Tony Ho, Nora Hyasat, Olga Kambas, Melissa Riley

Project Tutor: Ben Hewett

Master of Architecture
Spring Semester 2010
University of Technology, Sydney