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FJMT’s latest Sydney city intervention, Liberty Place, successfully balances an urban site and heritage and sustainability considerations with commercial requirements to create a rich and considered architectural offering. Elana Castle reports.


October 14th, 2013

Following a “Design Excellence Competition” in 2002, architecture firm FJMT were awarded the brief to design and document Liberty Place, a multipurpose public, corporate and hospitality development in Sydney’s CBD


An amalgamation of five sites, the development includes a premium Grade 44-storey commercial tower, a penthouse apartment, a retail space centred around a new plaza, a pedestrian lane, refurbishment and additions to heritage-listed Legion House and a new three storey office building known as 167 Castlereagh Street.


The development succeeds in carving out a major new public space, reinvigorating a previously run down area of the city and bringing together a significant sequence of refurbished heritage buildings, public open space and streetscapes into a cohesive environment.  “In recognition of the specificity of the site and its inherent attributes, the design comprises a carefully articulated assembly of elements – ground plane, street walls, tower elements and landscape – to create a unique architectural form,” continues McPeake.  “The design emphasises the public domain with a richness of activity, life and spatial and architectural interest


The development of Legion House balanced the parallel challenges of heritage preservation whilst enhancing the building’s overall utility and environmental performance.  “By adopting a contemporary design approach to new elements and juxtaposing new design with heritage elements, Legion House achieves an authentic response to the building’s heritage values,” explains McPeake.


Receiving little sun or wind, Legion House receives its energy from a process called biomass gasification.  “The technology converts plant sourced materials into a combustible gas that is used to generate electricity,” explains McPeake.  “This is effectively a carbon zero energy source as the greenhouse gases released in the energy production equal that absorbed in creating the biomass.”


Ultimately, the project combines a significant offering of premium grade commercial space with attractive public spaces and high quality retail.  “The development provides an enabling, flexible and human environment for workers and visitors,” adds McPeake.  “The through site link, associated lane way and public plaza provides a unique ground plane and entry to a commercial building which is also highly popular with tenants.”





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