The six-storey building is designed by architecture firm Kengo Kuma Architects (KKA), with the adjoining public square designed by Aspect Studios. “The Darling Exchange will be an important civic building for Sydney, for all the public to enjoy,” said architect Kengo Kuma. “It will become a new community hub that people in the city can be proud of.”
Darling Square is Sydney's newest urban neighbourhood and is at the heart of the New South Wales government’s AU$3.4bn(£1.79bn) transformation of Darling Harbour. Darling Square will house about 4,200 residents and some 2,500 people will work there.
Subject to planning approval, Darling Exchange will contain a new library including a maker spaceand ‘innovation exchange’ with a programme to support creative and technology start-ups. There will also be a market hall, a childcare centre and a rooftop bar and restaurant.
The new urban square will be an extension of the building and will include areas for pop-up markets and retail,as well as green space for people to relax. The square is 2,700m2 and is part of about 35% of Darling Square that Lendlease is making available as public space.
Lendlease group chief executive officer and managing director Steve McCann said: “We are delighted to launch The Darling Exchange, together with the City of Sydney. Throughout history, civic buildings and public squares have brought the community together. Our sincere desire is that The Darling Exchange will become a vibrant heart of the local community and a meeting place for all Sydneysiders and visitors.”
Kuma added: “This is our first building in Australia and we are honoured to be the architect. Our aim is to achieve architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognisable from multiple directions. The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange.”
The target is for the building to open in 2018.