Competition reveals potential designs to transform vacant block of land in Sydney

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At 114 William Street in Woolloomooloo, there is a vacant block of land owned by the government and consisting of at least 3,000 square meters of prime real estate. Until today, the place was only occupied as a random outdoor carpark for workers of the area.

But a design competition launched on Tuesday night by Street Level Australia, an urban lobby group, presented ideas for how to transform it, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The winning design. Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald

The contest, called Sydney is Beautiful, received 13 local and international entries. Each one presented a new vision for William Street.

M.J.Suttie, a Sydney-based architectural practice, was the winner. The project presented a seven-storey, neoclassical sandstone structure fronting William Street and a fresh image of Palmer Street as a pedestrian boulevard running north to the Domain, where a new public plaza, and a museum, the Institute of Traditional Urbanism, would be.

One of the competition judges, Architecture Professor Richard Economakis from the University of Notre Dame in the United States, described the winning entry as “a holistic vision of urban growth.”

“There’s a clear understanding of what the block is and what the street is… it’s a good height for William Street,” Mr Economakis added.

“It incorporates an inner open space, the courtyard… and proposes the same sort of system going forward for filling in the urban fabric.”

Second prize was awarded to an entry by Winston Grant-Preece. Mr Economakis described it as the “most Sydney” of all the ideas.

The architects also reimagined Palmer Street as a pedestrian boulevard leading to a new public plaza. Photo: The Sydney Morning Herald.

The government did not solicit, approve or oversee the competition, and there is no suggestion any of the designs will ever see the light of day.

When The Sydney Morning Herald asked Transport for NSW about the Woolloomooloo “ghost block” for a story in 2021, it said the land was no longer needed for operational purposes and its future use would be reviewed.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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