Looking up Down Under


Sydney’s current 235m height limit on buildings in the city should be overlooked to accommodate future population growth, architectural practice Bates Smart has proposed.

The practice, led by director Philip Vivian, put forward a vision for how the city skyline could look in 2050, when the population is predicted to have grown from 4.39m in 2011 to 7.26m.

Bates Smart was one of three architecture companies commissioned to put forward a design for the city’s future by Sydney-based lobby group the Urban Taskforce in 2014.

As well as addressing requirements for sustainability, transport and economic development, Vivian’s study concluded that the best way of accommodating a denser population involved breaking the existing tall building limit. This was set in accordance with the underside of the habitable floors of Sydney’s Centre Point Tower, built in the 1970s, but Vivian believes the city must look past this, commenting: “'To be a global city Sydney must have ambitions beyond a 1970s landmark.”

The proposed design also includes a new transport system: a 'Rapid Transit System' or RTS that would assist the city in its density increase. The existing heavy rail network will service outer ring suburbs and express lines into the CBD, while a new lighter rail will service the inner ring suburbs and city centre.

Vivian pitched his concept in New York this year to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), an international body assessing tall buildings and sustainable urban design.

“For Sydney to sustainably increase density it needs a fully integrated transport system. Our proposal is for future supertall development in the city to fund a sustainable transport system,” said Vivian.

Funding for the RTS will be drawn from a new concept, known as 'Supertall Floor Space' purchased by the government. This would allow supertall floor space on buildings within 200m of a rapid transit station. There are other parameters included in the proposal, such as overshadowing, which account for the wellbeing of the public.

* This is a version of an article that first appeared at DesignCurial: www.designcurial.com

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