The renewal of the AMP tower can be seen as part of a major effort to upgrade Sydney’s downtown area, an effort increase the area’s density and diversity with globally attractive architecture. In addition to this ambition, the renovated tower aims to create a refreshed address for AMP in Australia’s largest city. MVRDV’s tower responds to its context on a human scale, shifting to create views and light both for the tower and public spaces at its base.

The existing tower’s structure is retained, increasing the speed of construction significantly, while a new façade gives the tower a new lease on life. Where many of the older towers in the area can be described as introvert and enclosed, maybe we can add a more open, social variant to the typology. A careful discussion with the city and the client and the surrounding has led to a possible envelope in which the transformation could take place. MVRDV adapted this starting point step by step to create a tower which responds to its context on a human scale, shifting to create views and light both for the tower and public spaces at its base.
The existing structural grid is used as the basis of the extension and renovation of the tower’s floor plates and facades, optimizing the entire operation and speeding up construction. The existing grid provides a ‘pixel-like’ working environment. This smaller scale of the pixel allows for the possibility of individualized floorplans which react to the building’s context, and create unique spaces on a human scale. These pixels allow for panoramic areas like enormous bay windows, both in everyday workspaces as well as breakout areas and lobbies. Suddenly, the significant views of the city to the East or North are available throughout the tower. The pixel’s positioning can allow for collective elements like a reception desk with a panoramic view, or a kitchenette with an external terrace, or a board room which overlooks the building’s atrium.
The bigger extensions of the existing tower can easily lead to deep offices. Somehow too deep, as more spaces are further away from the façade, thus receiving mainly indirect light. By “carving out” parts of these big floors, more facade length per floor can be created; more corner rooms can be made; more daylight can come into the heart; more views towards the surrounding can be made. By ‘carving away’ pixels at certain positions, collective spaces can be created that emphasize the urban environment. At the AMP plaza, a grand entrance space can be created where a majestic cave has been sculpted out. Here the different pixels house collective amenities, shops, coffeeplaces, meeting rooms and information booths. Here the journey starts into the building, revealing glimpses of the canyon above, the atrium. The building’s atrium provides a natural ventilation function, as well as connected and accessible landscape of stairs and terraces, creating a natural inversion of the dense elevator cores of the existing structure.
These acts of carving out overlap one another, and thus can be spatially connected and can form an intriguing, if not overwhelming system of voids. They form stepped stone terraces that can be used for collective gatherings, for relaxation. Due to their sheltered environment, they can be planted with a variety of plants: trees, shrubs and hangers. They can house water catchment areas that are interconnected. The terraces can be connected through stairs and bridges, thus connecting multiple storey offices, allowing for an extraordinary walk from floor to floor. On the way magnificent views are offered. They form a three dimensional park, or a stacked botanical garden. The cutting acts makes every floor different, and remarkable in plan and as a spatial experience. They obtain an individual character. They create ‘addresses’ in the larger context of the building. They allow for a personal identity. The carving act leads to a ‘coral like structure’ that somehow reminds us of the treasures of Australia.

Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Renske van der Stoep, Gijs Rikken, Arjen Ketting, Mick van Gemert, Mikel Vazquez, Matias Thomsen, Jack Penford Baker, Antonio Luca, Matteo Artico, Carlo Cattò, Maria
Vasiloglou, Johannez Pilz, Pilar Zorraquin, Angel Sanchez and Ting Wen
Structure : Arup, Sydney, Australia
Cost Consulting : WT Partnership, Australia
Model: Made by Mistake, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Location : Sydney, Australia
Year : 2014
Client : AMP Capital, Australia
Program : Renovation of an existing 200m (49-storey) tower of 102.000 m2 and masterplan for the surrounding district

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