New design competition for $500m Aspire Tower

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The original Aspire Tower design by Grimshaw Architects.

The original Aspire Tower design by Grimshaw Architects. Image: Courtesy Grimshaw

Developer Walker Corporation has launched a design competition for the 90-storey Aspire Tower in the $2 billion Parramatta Square urban renewal project.

The original design of the tower was won by Grimshaw Architects in a competition held by Parramatta City Council in 2012.

In June 2015, the NSW state government approved Parramatta City Council’s request to raise height limits for the Parramatta Square urban renewal project, paving the way for the Aspire Tower to be built to a height of 306 metres.

Walker Corporation was selected to develop three stages of Parramatta Square development in August 2015 – stage two (Aspire Tower) and stages five and six (twin commercial towers designed by Johnson Pilton Walker).

Now, in a new design competition, the developer has received submissions from 10 local and international architecture practices.

Four practices, all Australian-based, have been shortlisted: Bates Smart, Fender Katsalidis, DBI Design and PTW Architects.

The lifting of the height limit is yet to be approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CASA). In 2014, a group of aviation authorities and organizations advised Parramatta City Council to reconsider the building’s height, saying it could impede take-off and landing corridors used by planes.

Walker Corporation will submit its development application for the Aspire Tower in two stages – the first for 70 storeys, expected to be lodged in June 2016; the second, for 90 storeys, will be discussed in consultation with CASA.

The design competition concludes 22 February 2016.

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