‘Translucent’ Building Wins Design Competition for $230 Million Parramatta Tower


Fender Katsalidis has won a competition to design a commercial building in Parramatta with a proposal for a translucent, “sculptural” tower.

The 2,439-square-metre site, at 32 Smith Street, near the banks of the the Parramatta River, is close to the intensive redevelopment happening in the Parramatta CBD and the proposed site of the relocated Powerhouse Museum.

Fender Katsalidis principal and design leader of the project Mark Curzon said that the ground plane and podium design of the proposal was influenced by pedestrian movement at street level.

“The pedestrian flow-lines began to shape the podium into soft, pebble-like forms.

“These open up to the river vista and create an impressive, north-facing urban ‘room’, an open-air gathering space given shelter and shade by the building’s main tower form.”

[Related reading: GPT Steps Into Parramatta With Strategic Acquisition; GPT Group Raise $400 Million In US Debt]


Each of the “pebbles” has a dedicated use: one as retail space and one as a dedicated entranceway for the office space above. The use of two distinct structures at podium level will open up new thoroughfares between the adjacent streets.

“The City [of Parramatta] loved that our design is both spatially generous and flexible,” Curzon said.

Above the “pebbles,” roughly 12 metres above ground level, will be the car parking space concealed behind a wooden batten facade. Curzon noted that the car parking levels have been designed with the same floor-to-floor heights as that of the office floors above, meaning that they could be converted to other uses if necessary.

An outdoor terrace will sit above the car parking levels, providing a “waistline” to the building. Atop the terrace will be the glassy bulk of the tower, which Curzon described as “incredibly transparent".

“It will be the most translucent building in Parramatta,” he said.

Another terrace, tree-lined and open to the sky, will crown the tower.

The competition was run and judged by the City of Parramatta Council, which is overseeing the transformation of central Parramatta.


The podium of 32 Smith Street will comprise two “pebbles”.

Images: Fender Katsalidis

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