I was recently reminded of the contribution great buildings make to cities compromised by bad buildings. All cities have their share of lame ducks. It seems to be a case of developer-led mediocrity in many instances where all manner of trade-offs are made in the name of progress. I was recently asked what was so special about the three best towers constructed in Australia in the past couple of years.
We have documented each of them on film and still image and the projects are 1Bligh St. Sydney, 111 Eagle St. Brisbane and 8 Chifley Sydney. My reply covered three critical areas: they touched the ground lightly with a ballerina's footprint, on sites hardly bigger than a suburban house block. In other words they didn't swallow the neighbourhood, they all provided a very open, permeable ground plane that included rather than excluded the passer-by, and that they were reinventing the office space away from the cellular hierarchy of old.
An added bonus is their energy performance and clarity of glass so that the black box syndrome occurring with cheap, expedient development is entirely avoided. Our 14 minute clip on the work of the brilliant German design practice Ingenhoven Architeckten who partnered Architectus Sydney, reveals how seriously good design can help create sublime cities rather than the conveyor belt tower built to the lowest common denominator.
I hope you find our program on 1Bligh St. Sydney - Heart of Glass - a reminder of just how great buildings can occur when enough people care about the work they leave behind: http://www.ingenhovenarchitects.com/en/office/filmsvideos/16122011-heart-of-glass.html