Timber-wrapped civic building takes shape in Sydney

WCN Editorial Team 9 Oct 2018 OCEANIA BUILDINGS

The Exchange, a six-storey mixed-use building at Darling Square in Sydney, is scheduled to open mid-2019.

Wrapped in 20km of sustainably sourced timber, the spiralling, light-filled ‘hive’ has been designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

It is being constructed at the site of the former Entertainment Centre in Chinatown, and the final pieces of timber are due to be fitted in November 2018.

The Exchange will include a ground floor food and beverage destination with Chinese restaurant Golden Century as the anchor mezzanine tenant.

A City of Sydney library will be housed in Levels one and two, which will connect the community with information, ideas and resources to help foster innovation and creative ideas. The Darling Square library is expected to be four times larger than the current Haymarket library.

A childcare facility on levels three and four will be leased to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Level five rooftop offers views of the Sydney CBD skyline, the Chinese Garden of Friendship and Darling Harbour.

Lendlease urban regeneration project director Neil Arckless said: “The Exchange is the result of a bold vision – it’s a place created to bring people together to enjoy today and for generations to come.

“At the centre of a thriving new neighbourhood, The Exchange building represents our broader placemaking methodology in action. It builds on what the local community and visitors want by integrating diverse offerings – from a market food hall to a state-of-the-art library.”

Powering the start-up culture in Sydney, The Exchange will include a dedicated IQ-Hub and Makerspace – providing flexible spaces for events, seminars, meetings, workshops and cross-disciplinary creativity and invention.

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said: “I don’t think there is anything else like it in the CBD. The Exchange is Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s first project in Australia, creating a stunning structure which will reflect the diverse and interesting activities that will go on within the building.

“By collaborating with Lendlease, we have secured two floors of The Exchange for the Darling Square Library, which will focus on technology, creativity, innovators and entrepreneurs, and feature a collection of approximately 30,000 items, a children’s area, makerspace, and $10 million fit-out by interior architects Bligh Voller Nield.”

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Image: The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Courtesy of Lendlease Corporation.

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