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Behold the timeless winning design for Pier Pavilion, Sydney

Jessica Spresser may be an emerging Australian architect but her design for Pier Pavilion — a new public pavilion to be developed at Barangaroo, Sydney — is timeless.

  • © SPRESSER, Peter Besley

  • © SPRESSER, Peter Besley

  • © SPRESSER, Peter Besley

Sydney’s infamous waterfront is destined to gain a spectacular new public pavilion in an upcoming development planned for the city’s Barangaroo precinct — and its architect, along with her bid-winning initial designs, have officially been revealed.

“We opened the national design competition in June [2020] to test the vision and innovation of some of the country’s best architects – and we weren’t disappointed with what was submitted,” says Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces. The competition received some 170 design entries, with the decision left in the capable hands of a jury comprising some of Australia’s most esteemed civic architects. In the end, the design for the Pier Pavilion at Watermans Cove by architect Jessica Spresser, in conjunction with Peter Besley and Arup, came out on top, due to its timeless appeal and a symbiotic relationship to its surroundings.

© SPRESSER, Peter Besley

“As a young, emerging architect, Jessica’s design is sophisticated and iconic, celebrating the natural elements of land, sea and sky that compose the site,” says Stokes. Spresser’s design includes a green rooftop garden and 123 columns built using white ‘oyster concrete’ from local oyster shells.

“Personally, this means a great deal as a young Australian architect and I thank Infrastructure NSW for putting together this competition,” says Spresser, adding that she feels “incredibly honoured” to have been selected from such a strong field of entries.

The involvement of renowned architect Peter Besley no doubt has been influential to Spresser’s design and its state of timelessness. As co-founder of Assemblage, a former London-based architectural practice, Besley led the design and execution of several high-profile competitions, including the winning $1bn Iraqi Parliament design and the £70m London Design District. Previously, the esteemed architect has spoken out against “fashionable icon building”, championing instead a more holistic, urban design approach to works of public architecture.

© SPRESSER, Peter Besley

“The pavilion is designed as a democratic gathering space under a landscape canopy and will act as a meeting place, a site for events, a memorable part of the city and an oasis of tranquillity,” describes the designer. The pavilion is planned to be open year-round for people to gather and relax at Sydney’s iconic harbour and will be used for a broad range of programmed events.

The project is currently undergoing design refinements before Infrastructure NSW lodges a development application for construction.

Renders by SPRESSER, Peter Besley

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