The Darling Exchange: A spiraling civic centre for Sydney

Kengo Kuma is set to complete his first building in Australia after plans were revealed for a spiraling six-storey structure at the heart of Sydney’s Darling Square District. The scheme, which is backed by development firm Lendlease, also features an adjoining public plaza designed by local practice Aspect Studios. Known as ‘The Darling Exchange’, the civic center contains: a library with spaces to support creative and technology startups; a ground floor market hall; a childcare center; and a rooftop bar with views over the neighbouring Tumbalong park. The entire structure is wrapped with a wooden screen that establishes a dynamic and engaging façade.

‘The Darling Exchange’ will be an important civic building for Sydney, for all the public to enjoy. It will become a new community hub that people in the city can be proud of,’ explains Kengo Kuma. ‘Our aim is to achieve architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognisable 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 The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange.’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 adjacent urban square forms an extension of the building, and includes areas for markets and retail stands, as well as recreational green space. Measuring 2,700 square meters, the plaza is part of approximately 35% of the masterplan made publicly available. Darling Square is an emerging neighbourhood located at the heart of the New South Wales government’s $3.4 billion (AUD) transformation of Darling Harbour. Once complete, the district will be a village with around 4,200 residents and 2,500 workers.

Steve Mccann, group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Lendlease, said, ‘We are delighted to launch the Darling Exchange, together with the city of Sydney. Throughout history, civic buildings and public squares have brought the community together. Our sincere desire is that the Darling Exchange will become a vibrant heart of the local community and a meeting place for all Sydney-siders and visitors.’ ‘The Darling Exchange’ has now been submitted for planning permission, and, pending approval, is expected to open in 2018.

Instinct Furniture BLOG, mostly about cool libraries, furniture and design – keeping you abreast of our world. (Source: Designboom).  All images courtesy of Darling Harbour  / Lendlease.

Leave a Reply

Fields marked * are required. Your email address will not be published.