Top firms compete to design controversial Cockle Bay Wharf tower

Six teams have been shortlisted in a design competition to design a 183-metre office tower on Sydney Harbour, as well as a retail precinct at its base.

Woods Bagot, FJMT, Wilkinson Eyre, Henning Larsen, Grimshaw, and UN Studio in partnership with Cox Architecture are in the running to design the Cockle Bay Wharf tower.

The $649-million tower will house 75,000 square metres of office space, along with some shops and restaurants. It will also involve the demolition of existing site improvements such as the extant Cockle Bay Wharf and pedestrian bridge links.

An indicitive design for the Cockle Bay Wharf redevelopment by FJMT, Tony Caro Architecture and Aspect Studios.

An indicitive design for the Cockle Bay Wharf redevelopment by FJMT, Tony Caro Architecture and Aspect Studios.

Image: Doug and Wolf

The initial proposal for the project, which included an indicative design by FJMT, Tony Caro Architecture and Aspect Studios, was granted concept approval by NSW’s Independent Planning Commission in May. The proposal has been redrawn a number of times since it was first put forward as a 235-metre-tall tower in 2016.

The approval came despite firm opposition to the proposal from the City of Sydney, which argued that the tower would cause overshadowing affecting the council’s long-held plans for the proposed Town Hall Square. In its decision, handed down on 13 May, the commission noted the applicant had reduced the size of the tower from the original plans, and found the tower would not cast shadows over the square during peak-use times.

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