Kengo Kuma unveils iconic Darling Exchange tower

Sydney is home to a number of iconic buildings and architecture with the most famous being the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, which tourists from near and afar venture to see. However, the city is soon to get another quirky building as part of Darling Harbour’s $3.4 billion redevelopment.

This new Sydney building, which will be known as The Darling Exchange has been designed by Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma and Associates. This will be their first building in Australia and part of Lendlease’s Darling Square precinct.

The Darling Exchange will feature the Japanese architect’s characteristic timber cladding and will comprise six curving floorplates which are arranged off centre to create a beehive-like appearance. Walkways will also be angled to create a spiralling form.

Positioned on the former site of the old Sydney Entertainment Centre, The Darling Exchange will comprise a library, childcare centre and a market hall as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant providing captivating views over Cockle Bay, the Chinese Gardens of Friendship and Tumbalong Park. The building will also include an “Innovation Exchange Program” for start-ups alongside a “makerspace”, allowing people to experiment with robotics and new manufacturing technologies.

The City of Sydney will take up two floors of The Darling Exchange on a 99-year lease which will be used as a community and retail centre.

On ground level, a large public plaza will surround the new library and will also feature areas for markets and retail brands.
The founder, Kengo Kuma announced that “Our aim is to achieve architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognisable from multiple directions.”

He also stated, “The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange.”

Although this is Kengo Kuma’s first Australian building, other past iconic projects include the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo, Bamboo Wall House in China, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) Group’s Japan Headquarters, Besançon Art Center in France as well as one of the largest spas in the Caribbean for Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay.

Kengo Kuma Architects has also been awarded the design of the Olympic Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore believes this new development is good news for the local area, and the new library which will replace the existing Haymarket library will be very appealing to the local residents.

“I am very pleased that the City has reached an in-principle agreement with Lendlease for two floors of the fabulous Kengo Kuma building. The contemporary library will include a flexible space for seminars and workshops, with technology to support entrepreneurs and innovators,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Kengo Kuma’s striking spiral-like building is an inspired design, and this agreement with Lendlease means the City will have a building that meets the needs of the community now and into the future.”

This whole Darling Harbour redevelopment is also good news for Sydney as it is expected to create housing for 4,200 residents as well as creating 2,500 jobs whilst attract many more visitors to the local area.

Both Darling Square and The Darling Exchange, which are being developed by property company LendLease are expected to be completed and open to the public in 2018, pending approvals.
Published on 22nd of March 2016 by Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich

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