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Winner announced: The Star Sydney casino hotel tower

FJMT has been selected to design a 200-metre-tall hotel and residential tower in Pyrmont, Sydney, for casino operator Star Entertainment Group, following a design excellence competition.

FJMT’s design for the tower was unanimously chosen by a five-member design panel over rival schemes by BVN and Grimshaw.

“FJMT presented an elegant, international-standard design with a refined, distinctive and visually interesting built form … considered unique to its place as part of both The Star Entertainment complex and the broader Sydney environment,” said the jury.

“The design responds sympathetically to environmental considerations – for example, by maximizing solar access for the surrounding area and by incorporating a facade and materials in keeping with the waterfront location.”

FJMT Design Director Richard Francis-Jones said the firm’s design vision “is for beautifully sculpted architecture that will seem to grow from the great sandstone of Pyrmont.”

“It will be a unique tower, shaped organically in relation to the local environment and character,” he continued. “The form and profile adjusts progressively to preserve sun access into public space, mitigate wind effects, and to share views and amenity with neighbours.”

The proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and residential tower designed by FJMT.

The proposed Ritz-Carlton hotel and residential tower designed by FJMT.

Image: FJMT

The project will be built within the existing footprint of the casino complex, at the northern end of the site. FJMT has also been appointed to design associated development works to connect the tower to the existing casino, designed by Philip Cox in 1995.

The hotel component of the tower will be operated by the Ritz-Carlton and is expected to feature more than 220 rooms. The tower will also have 150 residences.

The final design will be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for assessment in mid-2017.

On the jury were: Peter Poulet (NSW Government Architect and executive director of the Government Architect’s Office), Lisa-Maree Carrigan (director of Group GSA), Craig Allchin (adjunct professor of architecture at the University of Technology Sydney and director of Six Degrees Urban), James Doolan (regional vice-president of hotel development, Asia Pacific for Marriott International), and Greg Hawkins (managing director of The Star Sydney).

The project is seen as Star Entertainment Group’s answer to the James Packer-backed Crown Resorts tower planned for Barangaroo South, which will be located on the other side of Darling Harbour.

The Star Casino is currently Australia’s second largest casino and has an exclusive license to operate in NSW until 2019.

In 2015, Star Entertainment Group, a partnership between Chow Tai Fook and Far East Consortium, outbid Crown Resorts to develop Brisbane’s historic government precinct into a casino resort, which attracted wide condemnation from the Australian Institute of Architects and other built environment groups.

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