Parramatta City Council has chosen a new architecture firm to provide the redesign of for the Aspire Tower at heart of western Sydney’s new CBD, following the launch of a competition to replace the original designer Grimshaw Architects.
Bates Smart emerged as the winner from a group of four local architecture firms vying to provide a new vision for the Aspire Tower, after developer Walker Corporation opted to scrap the design which won Grimshaw the first competition for the project back in 2013.
Grimshaw’s envisaged the creation of a 366-metre tall mixed-use modular skyscraper that would exploit anticipated changes to height restrictions in Parramatta to create the highest viewing platform open to the public in the southern hemisphere.
The ambitious design was opposed by local and federal aviation bodies, however, including Air Services Australia, Bankstown Airport, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Sydney Airport, due to concerns that western Sydney’s tallest tows would interfere with the flight corridors of landing or departing aircraft.
Walker Corporation subsequently relaunched the competition after dumping Grimshaw’s proposal, calling for the design of a similar 90-storey residential tower situated at the heart of the Parramatta Square development, slated to become Sydney’s new CBD.
Other firms in the four-strong shortlist aside from winner Bates Smart included Fender Katsalidis, DBI Design and PTW Architects.
CASA’s concerns have compelled developers and designers to downscale their original vision for Aspire, with Bates Smart expected to submit a slightly smaller design with the Stage 1 development application in June, consisting of a 70-storey tower rising to a height of 243-metres high.
The developers nonetheless hope that the final tower will be commensurate in scale with the original vision for Aspire, hoping to negotiate with CASA and the state government for the addition of another 20 storeys during subsequent application processes.
Bates Smart’s design marks a significant departure from Grimshaw’s, consisting of a curvilinear, copper-hued tower as a opposed to a rectangular, gleaming silver high-rise. According to Bates Smart the goal of the design is to create an iconic landmark on Sydney’s new skyline, via the creation of a softer, distinctively organic structure.