Darling Harbour’s Floating Pavilion Drifts Into Development 1

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
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Dockside Pavilion
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Dockside Group has received development consent to begin building an event venue on a floating platoon in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

The venue, dubbed Dockside Pavilion, is a collaboration between Dockside Group, the Darling Harbour Alliance and they Sydney Foreshore Authority.

Set to open in mid-2014, Dockside Pavilion will act as an alternative space during the closure of the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, which is undergoing a $1 billion redevelopment.

That work, due for completion at the end of 2016, will see the 20-hectare precinct known as Darling Harbour Live become home to new world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities along with a proposed 90-storey luxury hotel tower.

Dockside Pavilion

Dockside Pavilion

Dockside Group managing director Christoper Drivas considers the pavilion to be a key way of keeping Darling Harbour active during the redevelopment.

“With capabilities to host numerous and diverse events, including conferences, business events, charity gala events, festivals and public events, the Dockside Pavilion will offer event organisers an exciting new option,” Drivas said.

“We felt it was important for us as long-term tenants of Darling Harbour to support the industry and the businesses around us during this time of transition. We are looking forward to hosting many exciting and wonderful experiences.”

Dockside Pavilion will feature a very sleek, contemporary design and will be draped in fabric. Celebrated fabric architect Warwick Bell of Fabric Structure Systems is behind the floating design, which will offer 1,470 metres of event space.

Sydney Convention Centre

Sydney Convention Centre

Bell was acclaimed for “The Cloud” project, an iconic fabric structure designed as the central point to host various events during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Bell credits textile material for its flexibility to create “spectacular, inorganic, curvilinear three dimensional shapes.”

Fabric in architecture also offers notable longevity with Bell noting that a typical life expectancy of a semi-permanent PVC structure is 15 to 20 years or longer.

In terms of the Dockside Pavilion, Bell has designed a pillar-free environment featuring high ceilings ranging from 5.5 metres to eight metres at their highest point. Floor-to-ceiling windows along the city side of the pavilion will allow guests to enjoy the view from inside or retreat to an outdoor terrace while on the promenade side of the structure, while the pavillion will feature frosted glass for event privacy.

Dockland Pavilion will feature an on-site service kitchen and is designed for large scale functions with the ability to house 1,400 seated guests and 2,000 standing guests.

The pavilion will be located directly across from the original convention centre, offering spectacular views and the novelty of “floating” on Sydney’s waterfront.

The idea of floating architecture continues to be explored around the world, with many waterfront locations recognising the tourism opportunities it provides.

Auckland's Floating Pavilion

Auckland’s Floating Pavilion

Auckland, New Zealand already has its own version of a floating venue entitled The Floating Pavilion. Nestled into Viaduct Harbour, the structure offers 550 square metres of event space.

In Melbourne, HASSELL recently announced an installation project for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival entitled The Immersery – Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden. It will be a multi-level cloud-like structure featuring a floating bar and open-air kitchen on the concourse level.

Moored on the Yarra River, The Immersery bar will also be used to educate visitors on global water usage and consumption in the hospitality industry.

Rotterdam's Drijvend Paviljoen (Floating Pavilion)

Rotterdam’s Drijvend Paviljoen (Floating Pavilion)

The Netherlands’ Drijvend Paviljoen (Floating Pavillion) captured global attention last year for the installation of a three-sphere, cloud-inspired structure built in Rijinhaven Harbour, Rotterdam – one of the largest ports in the world.

The 12-metre structure was designed by PublicDomain and Deltasync architects primarily as a business event location, and can accommodate up to 150 people. That project was designed to educate and inspire by communicating the challenges of climate change and rising sea levels, practising what it preaches through the use of sustainable and flexible structural materials and solar power.

It is also in line with Rotterdam’s goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 50 per cent while becoming adaptable to sea level rises. In this case, the project explores the opportunity of floating and transportable homes and venues that continue to serve purpose but leave a minimal environmental footprint.

Drijvend Paviljoen will remain moored until 2015, after which it will be shipped off to other ports to continue being utlisied as an event space.

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  1. Terresa Little

    Interesting project the one in Sydney.
    It is very important for the city to keep Darling Harbour active during the redevelopment of the area.