Commendation for EED & ESD

Olympic Lighting Towers by Tonkin Zulaikha

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

The Homebush Bay Lighting Towers are a major public celebration of light and shade. Australian technology is on show, working towards “clean” energy solutions, to provide a unique response to the illumination of urban space. Individually the towers are suitably iconic and characterful; collectively they form a great colonnade and verandah, marking out the central public space of Sydney’s new event park. Large scale photovoltaic solar collection joins with sophisticated lighting and structure to produce image-making, functional public sculpture. The nineteen towers, each thirty metres tall, unite many functions into a very small ground-plane “footprint” to maximise crowd flows. A five square metre mirrored reflector, designed with sophisticated photometrics, reflects area lighting indirectly onto the 1.6 kilometre long Olympic plaza, providing a unique glare-free night-time ambience. Areas of shade in the Plaza are provided by arranging the sixty square metres of photovoltaic collectors as dramatic floating sunshades, six metres above the paving. The photovoltaics have been designed to provide one of the largest public solar generators in the world - using leading Australian technology.

Jury Verdict
The canted Lighting Towers which determinedly stride down the Plaza, thirty metres tall, on the western side of the Olympic Boulevard, are among the signature structures of Olympic Park, Homebush Bay. They were designed to have that iconic stature and contribute visual order and style to the vast site. But equally importantly they had to symbolise the fact that Sydney’s Games were “green games”. Their green credentials accordingly became part of their structure - each with photovoltaic collectors arranged as floating sunshades six metres above the paving. The collectors together constitute a sixty square metre solar panel providing power for each tower’s five square metre mirrored lighting reflector. At the base the towers house services connections including high and low voltage power, communications, sewer, water and telephone. Public amenities such as recycling bins, seating and water bubblers are unified into the design.








Published online: 1 Nov 2000


Architecture Australia, November 2000

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