The heart and soul of Barangaroo

28 Sep 2018

Producing memorable experiences is a critical part of delivering successful urban regeneration projects. The expertise involved in creating these places, and getting it right, requires the input and experience of many different people.

Rob Deck

Managing Director, Barangaroo South

Take Sydney’s new Barangaroo South precinct. This once in a generation project – which has extended Sydney’s CBD west to the harbour-front – acknowledges and reflects the site’s Indigenous history and its past as a working harbour. The result is a vibrant and bustling new precinct that simultaneously caters for workers, tourists, residents, shoppers and restaurant enthusiasts alike. 

To create this distinctive precinct, we thought about every aspect of what makes a place great. From the large to the small, from the broader streetscape to the intimate details of paving and signage. This means lots of surprises and quirky features tucked away in nooks and crannies. For example, the drains that run through walkways feature a rope pattern, a visual nod to the 19th century when the site was a thriving working harbour servicing Sydney’s import and export trade.  

Our aim was to create a socially and environmentally sustainable place – with the buildings, the broader precinct and the community contributing to its success. A place catering to a diverse range of needs, including shops people use every day – a chemist, a dry cleaner, a grocery store, with restaurants, gyms, childcare and fashion; a place connected to transport – ferries, trains, buses and cycleways. 

We collaborated with a raft of local and international architects, landscape architects, 
interior designers, artists and specialist consultants to design the diverse architecture, public spaces and character you see today. 

An example is the seven-storey artwork named Shellwall on the southern façade of the Alexander residential building. A collaboration between Bidjigal elder and senior artist Esme Timbery and Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, this unique work celebrates the important shell-work tradition of La Perouse and the contemporary practice of respected artist Esme Timbery, a fourth-generation shell artist. 

Another special civic installation, The Beacon, is located at the southern entrance of the precinct. It was designed by Sydney based architects CHROFI and includes 64 bronze-anodised aluminium posts telling the story of Barangaroo and the Eora fisherwomen through poetry. It uses the Sydney language – the language of the Eora people – and is one of the first examples of the permanent use of the Sydney Aboriginal language in the city. The installation is a meeting place and gives us a moment to reflect on the Aboriginal people who lived here, used the waters of the harbour, and acknowledge their culture. 

The three commercial towers have been designed as a suite of sibling buildings with distinctive coloured sun shades – Towers 1, 2 and 3 are red, silver and yellow, respectively. While enhancing the buildings’ architecture, these shades also minimise heat from direct sunlight onto the floorplates which reduces the buildings’ reliance on air conditioning. 

The newly opened foreshore has reconnected the CBD with the waterfront of Darling Harbour, creating a second front door for Sydney and opening up an area that has been off-limits to Sydneysiders for over 100 years. In in a few short years the foreshore boulevard will be connected to the amazing Barangaroo Reserve, a six hectare recreation of the original northern headland of Millers Point designed to complement the other headlands on the harbour. 

From the very beginning, creating special experiences has been central to our vision for Barangaroo South. It is an authentic place that feels like it has always been there, an organic extension of the city designed for people. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and this approach is winning Lendlease a reputation for creating great places around the world.