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Quay Quarter Tower

Into the Future: Reuse and Densification


Quay Quarter Tower
By Diana Carta -

Located in Sydney’s vibrant Circular Quay neighborhood, the former AMP Center has undergone a thorough remake at the hands of architecture firm 3XN. The redevelopment has given the building a new lease of life in keeping with contemporary needs while also improving occupant well-being and quality of life. Indeed, transforming and updating the existing urban fabric appears one of the most environment-friendly and sustainable ways forward for architecture today.

The make-over “challenge” came in the form of an international competition called by the City of Sydney and AMP Capital, with the involvement of BVN Architecture, executive designer of the masterplan for the Sydney Quay Quarter precinct where the tower is located.

As well as changing the city’s skyline, the new five-volume tower has doubled the former building’s usable space without altering its footprint on the ground. Each of the irregularly stacked sections has a large light-flooded atrium, from where a spiral stair leads to the floors above. The fulcrum of each separate section, the stair exerts a centrifugal force that molds the internal and external form of the tower. The heterogeneous placing of this vertical distribution lends each section a characteristic dynamism that continues up to the top of each hub and terraces created by slicing into the volumes.

The tangent points between the five volumes create additional open social spaces with sweeping views over Sydney Bay. Clearly visible from the street, the fully glazed ground-floor lobby signals a welcome to passersby.

One of the brief’s requirements was to increase occupancy density, an internationally recognized need, given the projected increase in the world’s population. For 3XN, however, meeting this goal had to go hand in hand with an increase in future occupant well-being. Indeed, their Scandinavian mindset is at the root of all their work, each project aiming...

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