Grosvenor Place

Location: Harrington Street, Sydney
1988-92 - Built at a cost of $350 million, Grosvenor Place was designed by Harry Siedler, a highly respected Sydney based architect with a deeply held commitment to modern architecture. Grosvenor Place, along with other Seidler projects such as Australia Square (1967), MLC Centre (1975) and the Blues Point apartment tower have had a major impact on the Sydney landscape. Being on the "doorway" between Sydney and The Rocks, the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority exercised considerable control over the design of Grosvenor Place. It restricted the height to 176m above sea level so that it formed part of a stepping envelope between the Qantas building and the Regent Hotel, and required the site to be a pedestrian gateway to The Rocks; a diagonal walkway was incorporated into the design to allow through foot traffic from George to Harrington Street.

With 44 aboveground levels, a three storey lobby and 4 basement levels, the floor plan consists of two crescents, offset but with a common axis on each side of a sharp ended elliptical service core. The shape was chosen as it offers the full sweep of the best views and open space outlook and offered opportunities for a long span, column free system of construction.

The modern style building occupies an entire block in Sydney's financial district between The Rocks and the Sydney central business district. The complex includes Johnsons Building, Federation House and Royal Naval House  three low-set buildings in Grosvenor Street  with a diagonal path for pedestrians between them and the main structure, which is 180 m tall and contains 44 floors. Grosvenor Place was instigated by Bob Hammond who stipulated that the building must generate long term value. This mandate was realised through the design of a large, open floor design that allowed whole organisations to occupy complete levels. Internal columns were excluded to provide an uninterrupted space that can be custom designed by tenants.

The premium grade office tower was designed by Harry Seidler and Associates. In 1989, Grosvenor Place won the RAIA Lustig & Moar National Prize. It also won the 1991 Sulman Award, the fifth design by Seidler and his third office tower to win this award. The form of the skysraper features two crescents with an elliptical central core. The positioning and orientation of Grosvenor Place's two quadrants was chosen to maximise views down George Street towards the Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Sunshades provide the primary energy saving measure and eliminate sky glare. The sunshades are angled depending on their orientation to the sun. Structurally the building consists of a concrete core with steel beams and prefabricated granite facades. Each beam had exactly the same dimensions which reduced building costs and construction time. Each floor contains 2,000 m2 of space, providing a total floor area of 90 000 m2. True to Seidler's belief that large buildings should be a place where art is displayed, Grosvenor Place contains works by Frank Stella in the 3-storey lobby. The building also houses a 4-level basement carpark and a food court.

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