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A Beehive-Like Building Aims to Bring New Energy to an Old Part of Sydney, Australia

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“The Darling Exchange will be a building like no other, instantly recognizable with a facade wrapped in… beautiful, curved timber.”

—Neil Arckless, project director, Lendlease

PHOTO © COURTESY OF LENDLEASE

Sydney, Australia's Darling Harbour district is swarming with new energy. The Darling Exchange project, slated to close later this year, will deliver a circular six-story civic building featuring an exterior wrapped in ribbons of timber. The beehive look is “a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity,” Japanese architect Kengo Kuma told The Sydney Morning Herald.

A focal point of New South Wales government's AU$3.4 billion program to revitalize the area, the project includes a library, child care center, market, rooftop bar and restaurant. During construction, developer Lendlease's project team created prefabricated wood panels to reduce waste and costs. Seventy percent of the site's estimated 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of wood was prefabricated; the other 30 percent of the wood will be wrapped around the panels on-site.

But the wooden facade is about more than aesthetics: Gaps between timber strips will give guests views of the neighborhood below as they pass along spiraling walkways.

PROJECT

The Darling Exchange

LOCATION

Sydney, Australia

ESTIMATED COMPLETION YEAR

2018

SQUARE DEAL

The Exchange will be the centerpiece of an emerging neighborhood, Darling Square, which will feature shops, 1,500 homes and more than 3,000 square meters (32,291 square feet) of public open space.

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