FJMT’s Richard Francis Jones, discusses the strengths of Darling Quarter with Elana Castle
August 1st, 2012
For almost a decade, The International Architecture Awards, organised by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, has reflected the changing state of global architecture and emerging, cutting edge design. Its awards programme is dedicated to the recognition of design excellence with an emphasis on innovation, engineering, use of new materials and sensitivity to the environment.
The awards programme remains one of the most comprehensive and distinguished public honours, worldwide. This year, the jury, a panel of renowned architects and educators, honoured architecture practice FJMT with an award for Darling Quarter, a campus development for Commonwealth Bank in Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct.
While the jury does not provide project-specific citations, feedback has revolved around the significant, positive interface between the public domain and the building itself.
“We created an office building designed to engage with street life,” explains Richard Francis Jones, design director at FJMT.
“It developed out of a flexible idea that blurred the boundaries between dedicated work spaces and public place, with restaurants, ground floor retail spaces and spaces for children.”
Not to mention the buildings 6 GreenStar rating, which makes it a veritable symbol for sustainable and responsible design.
“We also wanted to create a true campus building,” continues Francis Jones. “The horizontal, extended design enables communication across all floors and plazas, creating a university-like campus environment.”
Asked about how he felt the re-design had engendered change, Richard Francis-Jones is eager to talk about the reconnection between Darling Harbour with the city centre.
“It’s now much easier to see and access Darling Harbour from the city,” he explains. “We created an easy, natural connection that didn’t exist before, bringing about a new alignment of the two areas. We are also seeing a new phase of development that has moved from something that was inwardly focussed to a potential reconnection between the city and Chinatown and Haymarket in the future.”
For more on the Darling Quarter: Issue 49 INDESIGN magazine, on newsstands now.
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