A major upcycled building in the Sydney CBD has been voted as the best tall building in the world for 2023.

In its latest announcement, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced that the 206 meter, 49-storey, Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney has been named as the Best Tall Building Worldwide.

Located on the edge of Sydney’s bustling Circular Quay, Quay Quarter is described by its architects as being the world’s first ‘upcycled’ skyscraper.

(image via Multiplex)

The tower is constructed on the site of the previous AMP Centre, which was built in 1976 and was reaching the end of its useful life.

Rather than simply tear the old building down and start again, the new tower has instead retained and built upon the original structure.

All up, the new building has retained over 65 percent of the original structure (beams, columns and slabs) along with 95 percent of its core.

This has delivered embodied carbon savings of up to 12,000 tonnes – equivalent to 35,000 flights between Sydney and Melbourne.

A key feature of the building involves an innovative glass façade which gradually shifts toward the east as the building rises.

This not only delivers extensive views of Sydney Harbour which include the Sydney Opera House but also ensures that the building does not cast additional shadows over the adjacent Royal Botanic Gardens or the public museum space to the south.


Other features include:

  • A self-shading façade which reduces solar radiation and minimises mechanical loads on the building.
  • Strategically positioned atria which enable natural daylight to permeate the 2,000-square-meter floor plates, improving energy efficiency in the interior.
  • An innovative removable floor system in the atria which allows occupants to remove and replace floor sections and affording flexibility that can accommodate a wide range of uses as businesses grow and work practices evolve.
  • Atria which create a vertical village, with social spaces that promote interaction among occupants, and activate the workspace.
  • Strategies to capitalise on Sydney’s temperate climate, including extension of the internal market hall to external terraces, and the podium’s rooftop park and café. The latter features provide both a new destination and much-needed greenery in the dense urban environment of the Sydney CBD.


The award was announced at CTBUH’s annual ‘Humanizing High Density’ conference held in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

In addition to the Best Tall Building Worldwide award, CTBUH has announced the winners of 21 further categories of tall building (see here).

Speaking at the conference, CTBUH CEO Javier Qunitana de Uña said Quay Quarter is an example of a building which helps to address a critical sustainability challenge.

“The global construction industry confronts an emerging dilemma: should we build new structures, or should we renew existing ones to accommodate the anticipated growth in urban density?” Quintana de Uña said.

“The pursued remedies can impact not only individual structures but also entire cities and the built environment in general and must take into account environmental, economic and social sustainability. Sydney’s Quay Quarter Tower exemplifies the forward-looking strategies and solutions that address this density dilemma head on, significantly reducing carbon emissions and helping to mitigate the impact of climate change while meeting the needs of its occupants and the surrounding community.”

The building is owned by Dexus Wholesale Property Fund (DWPF), Mirvac Wholesale Office Fund (MWOF) and Rest Super. Its design architect was 3XN whilst its architect of record is BVN.

It was constructed by Multiplex.


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