Formal construction on the second office building in Sydney Harbour's $6 billion Barangaroo project has begun, with the work set to usher in a striking new look for the area.

Historically used for shipping and stevedoring, the 22-hectare Barangaroo precinct, which includes an area along Sydney Harbour between King Street Wharf and Walsh Bay, is being transformed into a public, residential and commercial area.

The original master plan divided the development into three sections. The Barangaroo South section was designed to include a major new business, tourism, residential and retail precinct opening onto a public waterfront promenade.

Barangaroo Central was designed to host a cultural and civic focal point for recreation, relaxation, events, festivals, entertainment and free time activities, while Headland Park’s design called for a six-hectare open space designed to complement the neighbouring headlands of Sydney Harbour.

Barangaroo Master Plan

Barangaroo Master Plan

The Barangaroo South project aims to enhance Sydney’s position as one of the world’s most spectacular harbour cities and a must-see destination, and to boost Sydney’s role as Australia’s financial capital, increasing its competitiveness with Southeast Asia while enhancing its reputation as a centre for innovation, research and development.

Barangaroo was also designed to become one of the world’s leading sustainable urban communities. The new office skyscrapers will be the most sustainable high rise buildings in the city, targeting 6 Star Green Star v3 As Built ratings.

Last week, construction on the Barangaroo development was announced to be ahead of schedule and an updated master plan was recently released by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

An artist’s impression of Central Barangaroo

Artist’s rendition of Central Barangaroo

Key to the new master plan is an increase in floor space and building heights, increasing the buildings’ footprints to 121,500 square metres.

“Greater density and diversity will create an engaging, active and vibrant waterfront precinct,” the Barangaroo Delivery Authority said in a statement.

Though the plan calls for increased density, the Authority confirmed it was committed to ensuring 50 per cent of the new precinct will remain dedicated to public and recreational space.

“This public space will create a forecourt to a vibrant mix of residential, commercial and cultural uses at Central Barangaroo,” the Authority said.

An artist’s impression of Central Barangaroo’s Sydney Steps

Artist’s rendition of Central Barangaroo’s Sydney Steps

Barangaroo Central will include 2.6 hectares of waterfront public space, with the Barangaroo foreshore promenade completing one of the largest waterfront walks in the world, stretching 14 kilometres from Woolloomooloo to the Anzac Bridge.

Other key aspects included in the new proposal include the “Sydney Steps,” which will create a new city gateway to Barangaroo and the waterfront; a continuous 30-metre wide public foreshore walk; a new civic plaza and parks on the waterfront; and a network of laneways to ensure pedestrian and vehicular accessibility.

An artist’s impression of Central Barangaroo’s Urban Theatre

Artist’s rendition of Central Barangaroo’s Urban Theatre

In addition, a site will be preserved for a future cultural venue, preserving the views from Observatory Hill to the horizon and the harbour.

The master plan is being exhibited for public comment as part of the consultation process prior to the submission of a planning application seeking a modification to the Barangaroo Concept Plan, which will be required for the proposed increase in density.