Making a high-rise feel like a low-rise

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The Danish architectural firm 3XN recently designed a new 49-storey high-rise in Sydney called the Quay Quarter Tower.

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No Danish architect has actually had the opportunity to build a bigger building in Sydney since Jørn Utzon and his world-renowned Opera House.

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As stated by the company itself, 3XN envisions the building as a social catalyst and incubator for both business and social interaction.

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“Our vision is to create a building that brings the synergy, intimacy and connection to place found in a low-rise office building and stack it into a high rise,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN.

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3XN’s design incorporates two thirds of the structure of an existing building located on the site. The existing building was in need of a significant upgrade to meet modern market demands.

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“By dividing the building into five separate volumes and placing an atrium at the base of each, the volumes become smaller, more intimate social environments where it is easier for employees to connect and interact. This pairs the positive effects of daylight and views with social connectivity,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN.

Published
01.12.2015

The Danish architectural firm 3XN recently designed a new 49-storey high-rise in Sydney called the Quay Quarter Tower. The new high-rise excels in creating space for local and international business by being comprised of five separate volumes stacked upon each other.

According to Kim Herforth Nielsen, who is founding partner and creative director of 3XN, he and his team have designed a skyscraper where you can benefit from a nice view at every storey of the building. This is partly done by turning the building, so that more floors have better views.

At the same time, the building has been designed from the inside out. In traditional high-rises you do not usually have the nearness with the street level, but 3XN has tried to solve this challenge by placing the atriums high above the ground level, so you have the quality of nearness. This ought to make you feel as if you were in a one or two-storey building.

A hidden homage to the neighbouring Opera House is designed by dividing the building into different building elements, each referring to the many roof shells of the Opera House. No Danish architect has actually had the opportunity to build a bigger building in Sydney since Jørn Utzon and his world-renowned Opera House.

As stated by the company itself, 3XN envisions the building as a social catalyst and incubator for both business and social interaction. This is done by taking both human and city scale into consideration. The city scale is present, because Quay Quarter will be visible from many different vantage points in the city. By ensuring optimal views for occupants, while also creating interior spaces at a human scale that encourage interaction, knowledge sharing and vertical connectivity, 3XN is moving the boundaries of what a high-rise can be.

“Our vision is to create a building that brings the synergy, intimacy and connection to the place found in a low-rise office building, and stack it into a high-rise,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director of 3XN.

“By dividing the building into five separate volumes and placing an atrium at the base of each, the volumes become smaller, more intimate social environments where it is easier for employees to connect and interact. This pairs the positive effects of daylight and views with social connectivity.”

The 200-metre-high tower, with its five shifting glass volumes stacked upon each other, is turned. Rather than facing directly into the adjacent building, the lower levels of the tower angle west to capture the energy and movement from the surrounding neighborhood. As the building rises, the northern façade shifts to the east. This rotation enhances views over the Opera House and Harbour and helps self-shade the northern façade from intense afternoon sun.

3XN’s design incorporates two thirds of the structure of an existing building located on the site. The existing building was in need of a significant upgrade to meet modern market demands. In an act of radical sustainability, 3XN will incorporate the majority of the existing structure, adding four new elevator shafts to the core. The design optimizes the embodied energy and resources inherent in the existing building and results in a remarkably efficient plan.

Companies mentioned in this article