The low-rise podium, fronting George Street, offers retail that activates the street realm, capitalising on the pedestrian oriented street with the light rail. The structurally expressive masonry arches, which add character to the façade and spaces within, can be viewed from behind glazing.
This section will allow tenancies to be immersed within the vitality and energy of George Street, enabling greater engagement with the city, thus distinguishing the spaces in the podium section from that of the high-rise section. External balconies allow users access to the external space, further facilitating engagement with the public realm of the precinct.
A key design decision for Poly centre are its double height spaces, intended to create spaces with character and life to differentiate the project from other commercial A grade offices. The practice explains that tenants in the global economy are increasingly discerning, “seeking buildings with character and a unique identity both externally and internally,” with customisation opportunities and integration with a vibrant urban realm increasingly becoming priorities for contemporary workplaces.
From a practical point of view, these double height spaces enable more daylight penetration and provides opportunities for greater engagement, both within the spaces and with the surrounding urban environment.
Given site constraints resulting in smaller floor plate sizes compared to neighbouring offices, these double height “community tenancies” create opportunities for a more dynamic use of the space with a distinct character through mezzanine levels, depending on a tenancy’s needs.
Taking cues from other buildings in the precinct, 210 George Street continues the structural theme from surrounding buildings. The project features extensive use of arched masonry elements. In addition to creating a distinct character for the project, the cantilevered pre-cast concrete arches and exposed soffits in the low-rise section allow a column free perimeter space, thereby maximising use and increasing flexibility.
The project will be part of the Alfred Pitt Dalley and George (APDG) Precinct, which seeks to create a porous neighbourhood with inviting and pedestrian oriented public spaces. Grimshaw responds to this precinct vision by creating an active George Street frontage and creating a destination for the southwestern corner of the precinct.
A triple storey lobby within a curved glazed section capitalises on the prominent location at the corner of George and Dalley Streets, which also marks the southwestern corner of the wider APDG precinct. An opportunity for large scale public artwork and a retail/café outlet in this corner further facilitates the activation of the public realm.
Grimshaw believes that Sydney is on its way to becoming a global city and is uniquely placed to attract and retain 21st century talent. By creating workplaces that “imbue the City with life and vitality”, the city can be transformed into a “truly global city”.
The practice said that Poly Centre does this by converging workspaces and community spaces, and by creating distinct spaces filled with character and identity.
Andrew Cortese, Managing Partner of Grimshaw, explains that offices should not be “separated realms of tenanted space”, merely for the benefit of occupants and to service financial objectives. Rather, offices should be “integrated into the communities that surround them[,] contributing to the character of the City [and] the activities of the precinct.”
“A reciprocity between building and precinct supports and enlivens the urban realm – the culture of the city becomes woven into the fabric of the building,” described the firm.
“The reciprocity between building and precinct in making and supporting its urban realm allows the potential for life to be more vibrantly and communally manifested within our cities. It is that very attribute that is key to the experience of Sydney as a truly global city,” said Cortese.
Cover Image: View of 210-220 George Street from the corner of George and Dalley Streets. (Image: Grimshaw)