A development application has officially been lodged for a civic and community building in the $2 billion Parramatta Square urban redevelopment.
The project will be owned and operated by Parramatta Council and will be home to core council functions, including council chambers and administration offices, meeting rooms, a library with associated learning areas, technology rooms, maker spaces, children areas, youth areas, audio visual collections as well as customer service points and amenities.
The design consortium, made up of French firm Manuelle Gautrand Architecture and Australian firms DesignInc and Lacoste + Stevenson, unveiled their plans in 2016.
The $90 million project will cover six-storeys with a gross floor area of approximately 8,000 square metres.
[Related reading: Parramatta Square: An Insight Into Parramatta’s $2 Billion Urban Renewal]
According to the development application, the building will form part of the greater Parramatta Square redevelopment and comprise six levels above ground with a sloping glass façade on the southern side, and a basement level with a partial mezzanine.
From its inception, the concept was to embrace the existing Town Hall building, built in 1885.
"Internally the two buildings, new and old, are physically connected through the former stage proscenium involving demolition of the former stage area," the proposal said.
"To the north of the town hall auditorium the current kitchen wing will be demolished and at ground floor a new kitchen and public amenity areas will be added, as part of the new civic building and rising four levels above the ground plane - there are modifications to the town hall building to marry it with the new development and to connect it to the new public open spaces."The intention was to create a unique project, respecting the existing building but at the same time working and creating a strong dialogue with it on the northern facade.
The design consortium was accompanied by Aecom, Urbis, Niche, TTPP, WTP, Aver, Group DLA, iAccess, The Mack Group and Windtech, who helped deliver the proposal’s details.
Lacoste + Stevenson Director David Stevenson said the design team worked hard to ensure that public art was an essential component of the design.
“The design team’s vision for public art at 5 Parramatta Square was to make Council’s civic facilities a canvas for artistic expression in a way we haven’t seen before in a public building in Australia,” Stevenson said.
The City of Parramatta hopes to make 5 Parramatta Square a truly unique council building; one that does not feel like a structure built to remove our souls through bureaucracy and red tape. Aside from the public library and community facility spaces, 5 Parramatta Square will also be a wonder to look at, with beautiful interiors, innovative technology and captivating artwork.
The building will become a collection of public artwork – pieces will not only run throughout the interior but the building’s open spaces and public areas open up opportunities for performance based works, video or film events, light works or opportunities to explore Aboriginal heritage themes.
The building’s whole south façade/roof is set to become a digital screen for multimedia projections. It will be used for a range of purposes - artist works, events programs or specific installations.
The façade to level one will be glazed with an integrated LED screen with lines of LEDs which will be stretched along the whole south façade, from the existing town hall to the south eastern corner.
The interior space is organised by an interconnecting stair which link a series of stacked landings at each floor, creating quiet reading areas adjacent to the southern building facade, framed by each façade fragment. These are the vertical community ‘public living rooms’ visible to and from Parramatta Square.
“The fragmented floors slip past and over the existing Town Hall,” the proposal said.
“As a result, the south western lower levels produce a new lobby for the Town Hall. Level four cantilevers over the Town Hall building producing a monumental space for the council Chambers, and at level 5 a public viewing platform.
Now that the proposal has been submitted, 5 Parramatta Square will go to the Parramatta’s planning panel for assessment.
In 2016, Parramatta Lord Mayor Paul Garrard said the design for 5 Parramatta Square would cement it as the civic heart of our City.
“This will be a building that defines Parramatta as a Smart City,” he said.
"The interactive nature of the building and library of the future will be something that locals and visitors will be able to enjoy for decades to come.
“It has also been cleverly designed to pay respect to heritage and merge together the past, present and future.”
Images: Courtesy Lacoste+Stevenson Architects, Luxigon, Doug and Wolf