WilkinsonEyre won an international design competition for the new Crown Hotel in Sydney. The brief was to create a high-quality, landmark design on the spectacular harbour site to capture the vibrancy of the city and create a strong new destination on the waterfront.
The concept takes its inspiration from nature and an elegant, curved geometry. The tower’s form emanates from three petals that twist and rise together and its sculptural shape maximises the opportunity for accommodation to make the most of the views of Sydney's famous bridge and harbour.
Many of the city's most well-known buildings are situated along the waterfront, Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House being the most famous. The hotel is a little further along on the Barangaroo waterfront in East Darling Harbour. Central to the design of the hotel is the idea that it should be a sculptural form contrasting with the more orthogonal geometry of the tall buildings in the central business district.
The geometry of the tower is complex and was derived using parametric 3D modelling. It accommodates a 60-degree twist in the outer skin with helical columns on the perimeter while maintaining a vertical core structure. The challenges that this creates for the internal layout are addressed by the setting out of residential villas (duplexes) and apartments in the tower as a spiral, whilst the majority of the hotel rooms are stacked vertically in their own wing.
A four-storey podium with perimeter terraces is overlaid with a veil of marble sections reminiscent of Gothic stone tracery, providing some shade to the terraces beneath and a visual lightness to the podium. At the lower levels, the design responds to its waterfront location and public realm with four entrances making strong connections and encouraging movement through the structure. Guests arrive from the city side through a dramatic, triple height porte-cochère enclosed by glass blades and verdant planting framing the main entrances to the hotel and residences.
The undulating soffit of the entrance guides the eye in towards the reception as it transitions seamlessly to the lobby ceiling. Feature lighting on the planting, sculptures and water bounce shadows upward, creating a changing light throughout the day. Upon entering the lobby, a spiral staircase curves up to the fourth floor creating spatial drama. The geometry of the stair is tuned to allow light to filter down from the top, creating a visual connection between levels.
Careful integration of the hotel's public areas with its immediate surroundings brings the vibrancy of this popular waterfront area into the heart of the building as Sydneysiders enjoy the wealth of bars, cafes and restaurants on offer.
The building plays an important role in the transformation of Barangaroo into the first carbon neutral precinct as well as a world class destination. In support of the Barangaroo zero waste strategy and a wider commitment to the Climate Positive Development Program, the design exceeds current standards for energy performance and plugs into the development's local district heating and waste systems.
During the build of One Barangaroo, Crown have significantly contributed to the clean-up and remediation of the waterfront and over 300 trees have been planted within the grounds. The building has created over 2,000 jobs for New South Wales and celebrates local craftmanship with hundreds of original works by Australian artists on display.