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The Star releases design plans for new tower

Tue, Oct 18, 9:21am by Staff Writer

Based on designs submitted by three globally leading architectural firms, a glittering new glass and steel hotel tower will be added to Sydney’s skyline when The Star completes its addition project roughly five years from now.

Last week reporters for The Daily Telegraph obtained the official artist’s renderings of the three firms’ respective designs for The Star’s planned AUD$500 million hotel tower addition.

Australia’s own BVN Architecture and Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) joined London-based Grimshaw Architects – each home to world-renowned and award-winning architects – in submitting design plans for The Star’s 60-storey, 215-metre high hotel tower.

Locals know Grimshaw quite well, as the firm has designed many buildings within Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), along with the South East Light Rail, and the vertical high school located in Parramatta. FJMT designed the tower at 200 George Street, while BVN has won the John Sulman Medal for Public Architecture at the NSW Architecture Awards on multiple occasions.

Each architect was tasked with designing a unique hotel tower structure, one which included 220 premium rooms and 150 permanent residences, in addition to staples such as event space, conference rooms and convention halls, and even a ballroom.

Later in the month a five-person design review panel will select the winning design, the details of which will then be made available to the public during community feedback sessions. After integrating the adjustments received from Sydney locals living on or near the Pyrmont Peninsula construction site. From there, final plans will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment at some point during the first six months of 2017.

The three designs are all striking in their visual use of vertical space, with Grimshaw relying on a cylindrical tower surrounded with wall to wall glass windows; FJMT opting for a single cylindrical base which extends and “swirls” to form a pair of distinct tower arms; and BVN relying on sharp angles and geometric shapes in a tower which seems to grow narrower in its middle sections.

After reviewing the three design schemes, Chris Johnson – a former governmental architect for NSW and current CEO of Sydney’s Urban Taskforce – expressed his approval for the modernized skyscrapers:

“The Sydney Central Business District peninsula is looking spectacular with its vertical combination of tall towers and as the city grows this should be balanced by something similar on the Pyrmont peninsula.”

The Star has timed its addition to coincide with rival Crown Casino’s planned construction of a AUD$2 billion six-star hotel and casino in Barangaroo, so the completion date is estimated to be 2020-21.

That addition to Sydney’s skyline was previously set to open in 2019, but in February of this year Crown announced an 18-month delay in construction would push the debut back to 2021 at the earliest.

Both Crown and Star are avidly pursuing well-heeled Chinese tourists due to recent demographic shifts in the gambling industry, and the tower construction is part of that plan for both companies.

According to Star’s CEO Matt Bekier, the objective is to entice Asian gamblers away from the regional gambling mecca of Macau:

“Tourism, especially from Asia, is a huge, long-term growth driver for Australia … (and the hotel) will allow us to really enhance and increase our contribution to Sydney’s tourism offering.”

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