Sydney’s city skyline has a new, gold-hued tower amongst its sparkling silver skyscrapers. 200 George by FJMT Architects is a 37-storey office building, quite unlike its predecessors.
July 7th, 2016
Driving southbound across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the 200 George tower will likely catch your eye. Pitched to the left of the Four Seasons Hotel, its curved golden exterior beams out across Circular Quay. The buildings’ striking, warm hue is achieved by an innovative closed-cavity façade with built-in timber blinds. 200 George is the first of a new class of ‘smart’ skyscrapers that feature technology to monitor air quality, power and water usage.
“Unlike other office buildings that are often grey, dark and anonymous, the timber blinds give the building a shimmering, warm, inviting and golden look and feel,” says Richard Francis-Jones of FJMT. “The building façade moves and responds to its external and internal environment. For example, the blinds adjust automatically according to the sun’s natural cycles, shadows cast as the sun passes behind surrounding buildings and the weather.
200 George has also paid careful attention to the sites history, rising out of the ground clad in materials that have been excavated from the site. A bronze line has been cast into the floor interweaving through the ground floor lobby and public domain, representing the location of the harbour foreshore in the years immediately following European settlement, while Judy Watson’s 300 square metre artwork in the lobby, crafted from sandstone excavated from the site, celebrates the heritage of the area and embodies the pre-settlement Sydney shoreline. Heritage specialists, GML Heritage, were enaged to record the rich history and archeology of the site, and during a 12 week excavation, unearthed 23,715 artefacts relating to Sydney’s colonial and Victorian-era history. The most significant and intriguing artefacts have been placed on display in the public forecourt of the building.
The building is the new Sydney HQ of both EY and Mirvac – with Mirvac enlisting Davenport Campbell to imagine a new, progressive workspace for its 6 floors at 200 George. “It’s not often you get a chance as a designer to create something that has the potential to remarkable transform the way an organisation works,” says Neill Johanson, Co-Principal at Davenport Campbell and Head Designer on the project.
“The first thing we did was to develop a Living Lab or pilot space,” Johanson explains. “This experiment, if you like, of putting people into a mini version of the HQ project was an effective way of testing new ideas, prior to whole heartily committing the next step… Both the 200 George Street and the HQ workplace are the next generation of integrated intelligent building and workspace. No other place provides the building owner, tenant and guest with access to so much information about sustainability, utilisation and efficiency.”
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