Kengo Kuma Reveals a Spiraling Timber Civic Center for Sydney

Pat Finn Pat Finn

Plans for an iconic new civic center for the Darling Square district of Sydney have been announced by Kengo Kuma, proposed in collaboration with development company Lendlease. The six-story, spiraling tower will contain a market hall on the ground floor in addition to a public library, a center for childcare and a rooftop bar. The mixed-use complex is meant to be a frequent destination and meeting place for local residents.

“Our sincere desire is that The Darling Exchange will become a vibrant heart of the local community and a meeting place for all Sydneysiders and visitors,” said Steve McCann, the chief executive of Lendlease.

The most striking aspect of the building is the façade, which is composed of a spiraling wooden screen that resembles unspooling yarn.

“Our aim is to achieve architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community,” said Kengo Kuma in a statement. “This is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognizable from multiple directions. The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange.”

The Darling Exchange is to be the center of Darling Square, an emerging neighborhood in Sydney. This area is being developed as part of the city’s 3.4-billion-dollar initiative to revitalize the Darling Harbour area of Sydney. Aspect Studios has also planned a 29,000-square-foot (2,700-square-meter) plaza that will be located next to the Exchange and include a recreational green space as well as retail stands.

Plans for the Darling Exchange have been submitted to the government and are currently pending approval. It is expected to open in 2018.

All images courtesy of Darling Harbour and Lendlease

Pat Finn Author: Pat Finn
Pat Finn is a high school English teacher and a freelance writer on art, architecture, and film. He believes, with Orwell, that "good prose is like a windowpane," but his study of architecture has shown him that a window is only as good as the landscape it looks out on. Pat is based in the New York metro area.
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