Danish architect 3XN’s “upcycled tower” wins International High-Rise Award

Images courtesy of Adam Monk
Copenhagen’s 3XN architects has won the High-Rise Award 2022/23 for its Quay Quarter Tower, a 206m-tall project in Sydney Harbour.

The award is organised by Deutsches Architekturmuseum, and five finalists were announced in October. Besides 3XN, these were Serie Architects’ Singapore State Courts, Bjarke Ingels Group’s Vancouver House, David Chipperfield Architects’ The Bryant in New York and Henke Schreieck Architekten’s TrIIIple Towers in Vienna.

Quay Quarter Tower is described by 3XN as an “upcycled tower”, as it integrated parts of an existing office block including two thirds of the beams, columns and floor slabs, as well as almost all of the 1970s core.

The use of existing features saved 7,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions when compared to complete demolition and new construction.

The building is divided into five stacked volumes connected by atriums, with cantilevered modules on the façade reducing direct sunlight while offering views of the harbour.

The residential and office tower adds 45,000 sq m of space to the existing site, with a 4,000 sq m of retail on three levels, as well as public gardens and a rooftop café.

Kim Nielsen, 3XN’s founding partner, said: “Quay Quarter Tower is the most important transformation project ever completed. It transforms an existing tower in central Sydney that no longer worked for its users, giving it new form and character and extending its lifespan far into the future.

“Mid and late-20th-century towers are reaching the end of their usable lives, and we know we cannot demolish and build the way we have in the past. Quay Quarter Tower is proof that transformation in architecture is possible at a large scale.”

Peter Schmal, Deutsches Architekturmuseum’s director, said : “In the near future, the world will have to accommodate some 3 billion people under the age of 18, or the same number as the entire population of the world back in 1930. This means we need to densify.

“To do so, we will quite simply have to build higher. This will be the norm. Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney is four floors higher than its predecessor, adding space on the same footprint. At the same time, it maximises carbon savings. A win-win situation.”

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