A Spanish architect designs a skyscraper based on an eucalyptus, the native tree of Australia, rooting with the place.
One of the leading architecture studios in Spain, commanded by Rafael de la-Hoz, won an ideas competition in Australia in which four international studies intervened whose ruling occurred in July last year. Its purpose was to promote a skyscraper, the One Ninety Seven, a name that makes clear reference to its location at number 197 on Church Street, in Parramatta.
The promoter, the company Holdmark Properties Group, announced in 2015 a boomerang-shaped building, designed by Robertson and Marks architects, with a very original name: The Boomerang, but was forced by the town hall to hold the mentioned contest if They wanted to move on with the project. The Australian architects, Group GSA, then saw an opportunity and allied with Rafael de La-Hoz, a happy occurrence.
If executed, the skyscraper will have an area of 74,300 square meters for residential and retail use. The plot covers an area of 4,300 square meters and the building will reach a height of 266 meters thanks to its 83 floors, housing 650 apartments, 162 hotel rooms, commercial areas on three levels with about 3,000 square meters and 800 parking spaces.
One of the reasons why the proposal was chosen is the deep respect that the architects showed when developing the complex, maintaining the facade of the building that currently occupies the plot. This is the Murray Bros, built in 1889. Of course, they removed the front part allowing free pedestrian circulation and gaining public space.
Located near the City Hall of Parramatta, in front of the post office, it will be located in the urban heart of the city, in a context where its presence will forever transform the lifestyle of citizens. Because of this, the design team has been inspired by the rich heritage of New South Wales to create an iconic skyscraper inspired by Australia’s most exported plant element: eucalyptus.
The idea is clear, it is not only to provide the urban environment with an icon for the future, but also to ensure that this element can only be found there and not elsewhere in the world. For this they stylized the structure to the maximum by means of three superimposed elements, with oval shapes at their endings, taking advantage of their corners and creating the maximum possible points of view.
The skin of the building is mainly composed of two materials: glass and aluminum, capable of adapting to the requirements of the project, also providing the shapes and nuances necessary to similar the bark of a eucalyptus. Gray smooth areas, immaculate parts of the bare tree, transparent areas, necessary for viewing from the inside and oval protrusions that simulate the detachment of the tree’s bark, while serving as sunscreens.
By requirements of the City Council, this new version includes an office building that joins the skyscraper and the square that will be formed between them. This square (2,000 square meters) will have an Efte roof, whose initials respond to the Ethilene Tetra Fluor Ethilene, a plastic with high chemical and mechanical resistance (supports 400 times its own weight), great stability to temperature changes, high resistance to ultraviolet rays, high transparency, self-wash and recyclable. A jewel, come on.
The bad news is that the skyscraper, perhaps, will remain as something that could never be, given that the public entity Greater Sydney Commission, chaired by Lucy Turnbull, whose mission is to lead metropolitan planning to make Sydney more productive, sustainable and livable , denied the possibility of performing a similar performance in the area because the building casts shadow on the Parramatta Square between noon and two in the afternoon during winter.
The limitation is unacceptable for modern urban development, since it limits the height to only 20 floors, restricting the development of the city. However, the company has not removed the ad from its website and as long as it does not, there are chances that this Spanish proposal will come to light. The promoters also claim that the One Ninety Seven complies with the Commission’s rule of shading the square for a maximum of 45 minutes.
However, we are left with the spectacular design of Rafael de La-Hoz, surprising and generous, bold, futuristic and able to give a new air and prestige to the growing Parramatta. Can you imagine if they had not allowed the Sydney Opera House, which is currently a World Heritage Site, to be built? Well, probably, neither Australia nor the world would be the same.