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33 Bligh Street

A recent Sydney design competition asked for a unique combination of infrastructure and a commercial tower. Enter 33 Bligh Street. Yelena Smetannikov reports.

33 Bligh Street


April 28th, 2011

Situated in the Sydney CBD, the concept for 33 Bligh St is the first commercial building to have an electricity substation taking up the first several storeys of the tower, making the lobby area above ground level.

Stephen Varady, Senior Design Architect of KannFinch, seamlessly blended the two distinct forms together in his design, intertwining them with public space to provide views of the CBD at different heights.

“I wanted a composition that would allow these two distinct forms to come together using one rich architectural language,” Varady says.

The substation is surrounded by heritage buildings, and has to be sensitive to its neighbouring facades. The design of the podium takes its inspiration from architectural features of adjacent buildings, as well as the simplified yet powerful forms of the Russian Constructivists, Varady notes.


Above the podium is a sky lobby which separates the substation from the 25 000sq m tower. Varady’s intentions are for the general public to be able to access this space, which will contain a café, meeting and function rooms, as well as indoor and outdoor seating areas.


The tower itself will be a dynamic glass sculpture, as numerous levels are pushed and pulled to create openings in the façade. These openings will serve as workspaces or breakout areas.

The different levels of the building will cater to its users as well as the public. The podium’s exterior will contain a café to bring new life to the street edge.

Plazas on the tower’s first floor and roof level, as well as extruded balcony spaces throughout the building, all aim to provide space for social encounters between workers and visitors.


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