Darling Harbour project proves a winner
HASSELL Studio has won a merit award in the 2019 World Landscape Architecture Awards for their design of the Darling Harbour Public Realm.
Completed in late-2018, the 20-hecatre Sydney site is home to the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC), and the designers wanted to “both ‘wow’ first-time visitors and delight those who use the space the most - the local community of workers and residents - and keep them coming back.”
HASSELL has linked the three ICC Sydney buildings with a continuous landscape base, terraces and materials, so that the landscape blends with its surrounds. They have reinvigorated the site’s parklands, unified the landscape with open spaces, and incorporated water features, public artworks, plazas and event spaces, creating opportunities for a variety of events.
Tumbalong Park open-air events space has created a “dynamic events destination”, while “more diverse public experiences” have been allowed for thanks to the new Chinese Garden Plaza, a forecourt to the pre-existing Chinese Garden of Friendship, which includes shallow pools for water play that can be switched off in order to use the space for events.
“A greener harbour” has been formed with the inclusion of 630 new trees, native species, and 9,000m2 of additional green space.
Improved pedestrian, cycle, and public transport connections have also made everything easier to access.
The project achieves some of the City of Sydney’s sustainability goals, with improved walkability, 30% more public space added to central Sydney, and a six-star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Buildings Council of Australia.
The public landscape and customised artworks are linked with Darling Harbour’s architecture, and are also inspired by the site’s unique history and ecology.
Some of the major public artworks included in the new Darling Harbour are Ryoji Ikeda’s data.scope, a 10-metre high and 96-metre long audio-visual piece; Sandstone Pollen by Maria Fernanda Cardoso, a collection of sandstone sculptures along The Boulevard; Diane Mellor’s Entelekheia, murals impressed into Darling Harbour’s concrete retaining walls; and Sound Habitat by Janet Laurence, bird sounds which can be heard along The Boulevard.
HASSELL principal and head of landscape architecture, Angus Bruce, says, “people were firmly at the heart of our design process for remaking Darling Harbour. Our clients envisaged a high-quality, open and flexible public realm that allows for the greatest variety of both casual uses and organised events. They wanted a place full of vibrant spaces that heighten the experience of visitors to the venues, while presenting as attractions in their own right.”