NSW Approves Timber-Ribboned Darling Square Building


Sydney’s Kengo Kuma Architect-designed cylindrical civic centre The Darling Exchange is underway, with a prototype of the building’s exterior unveiled to coincide with its planning approval by NSW planning minister Anthony Roberts.

The Darling Exchange will be the central hub of Sydney’s Darling Square set to include a new City of Sydney library featuring an Innovation Exchange, with a program to support creative and technology start-ups.

This will be Kengo Kuma's first building in Australia, with timber cladding design a strong characteristic of the Japanese company.


A permanent ground floor open market hall, childcare centre and a rooftop bar and restaurant with views over Tumbalong Park, the Chinese Gardens and the bright lights of Cockle Bay.

Neil Arckless, Project Director, Darling Square and the ICC Hotel, Lendlease said the building would be unique. 

“The Darling Exchange will be a building like no other, instantly recognisable with a façade wrapped in 20 kilometres of beautiful, curved timber. Lendlease is proud to be working closely with the State Government to deliver this building for the people of Sydney.”

The new urban square will be an extension of the building and includes green space for the community. The square is 2,700sqm (approximately the size of Martin Place between Pitt and George Streets), and is part of around 35 per cent of Darling Square that Lendlease is making available as public space for locals and visitors to enjoy. 

The Darling Exchange is the centrepiece of Darling Square, Sydney's newest, most walkable and connected urban neighbourhood at the heart of the NSW Government’s $3.4 billion transformation of Darling Harbour. Darling Square will be a 4,200 resident-strong village, with 2,500 workers as well as Sydneysiders and tourists expected to visit the area. Darling Square is already home to 500 students living in Urbanest’s recently completed student accommodation building.

Kengo Kuma's wooden-lattice inspired design for Tokyo's New National Stadium won the Japanese competition, and is set to be the centrepiece of the 2020 Olympics, after Japanese officials controversially 'dropped' the design by Zaha Hadid.

The Darling Exchange will begin construction soon with completion due in 2018.

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