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Central Park Sydney by Tzannes and Cox Richardson and Fosters + Partners receives The David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture

Jury citation

With its high-density, mixed-use urban park, its pedestrian focus and its public transport access, Central Park is an exemplar of socially and environmentally responsible urban renewal, transforming a former brewery complex through private sector investment. Involving multiple owners and stakeholders, numerous specialist design consultants and intense political debate, the eventual development approval yielded densities approximating Manhattan or Barcelona. This approval, through extensive engagement with the City of Sydney, committed to design excellence with the direct appointment of prominent architects for major sites, design competitions for remaining sites and a major public art program. Significant sustainability initiatives were introduced that leverage the scale of the development with efficiencies that are only possible through a “district” approach, including a central thermal plant, trigeneration and a water recycling plant including greywater and blackwater recycling. Vent stacks and heat rejection for this basement plant were given an elegant architectural expression in the adaptive re-use of a heritage building on the site.

Trigeneration is predicted to reduce carbon emissions by 190,000 tonnes over the plant’s twenty-five-year life compared to conventional energy sources, supplying gas-fired electricity, heating and cooling to the entire development and comprising some 250,000 square metres of floor space. An existing adjacent street, Kensington Street, was incorporated into the development and converted to a traffic-controlled shared zone supporting a vibrant night-life. Many of the historic street-front buildings were conserved and adapted to new uses, including bars, cafes and student housing. The main residential tower has a heliostat to reflect light to public areas and extensive planting on the facades, fed by recycled water, reducing heat island effects and enhancing air quality.

The effects of this project include improvements for the main surrounding city streets and open space network, with positive impacts beyond the site boundaries. A public domain framework ensured that public amenity was maintained as development propositions evolved during the design process. Central Park demonstrates that higher densities can deliver more liveable and sustainable urban places.