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People to live, work and play


Walkability Score

6 Star

Green Star Communities Rating

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The challenge

As lead design consultant, Arcadis’ goal was to reimagine one of the oldest and busiest heritage industrial sites in Sydney’s CBD into an exciting and environmentally-healthy place to live, work, connect and play for over 4200 residents, 2500 co-workers and over 50 retailers.

Bringing the Darling Square development to life meant navigating multiple urban planning challenges for the Arcadis design team, notably investigating existing underground utilities and heritage assets at the site and ensuring informed design decisions would cause minimal impact to those items prior to the Darling Square construction phase commencing. Flooding issues and transport modelling were also major considerations for the project’s success.

Key to the successful urban development of Sydney’s Darling Square, was highly effective stakeholder management including addressing concerns and meeting the needs of major partners including Lendlease, the NSW Government, City of Sydney, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and Transdev ensured the project was delivered within the deadline of a public opening in August 2019.

The solution

The Darling Harbour redevelopment known as Darling Square, would utilize the multi-disciplinary skills of the Arcadis teams in Sydney, Brisbane, Manilla and Hong Kong providing the civil, structural, traffic/transport, façade, electrical, hydraulic, pavement and environmental engineering services required to deliver the project.

Specialized Arcadis capabilities proved to be a key factor in the cost effectiveness of the project, including Arcadis’ comprehensive flood modelling survey that recommended a reduction of flood levels leading to an increase in development yield for the site. Innovative Digital Engineering and BIM practices were implemented on the project in the form of 3D modelling for the existing and proposed services. Now an industry standard, Arcadis introduced these digital practices in the delivery of Darling Square.

Rigorously viewing the project through an environmental impact lens meant achieving the best possible environmental health outcomes for the site was a design priority for Arcadis. Implementing Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) practices for Sustainability, enabled Darling Square to achieve a 6 Star Green Star Communities rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Arcadis design thinking included a high-efficiency exterior facade for commercial building allowing for optimal natural daylight penetration while controlling glare and heat load; rainwater harvesting (and usage of recycled water for the entire site) and effective use of raingardens. Arcadis adhered to WSUD principals resulting in ongoing sustainable outcomes including flooding solutions and minimal utilities impact.

The cross-discipline collaboration of the Arcadis teams, supported by strong project and quality management and excellent safety compliance measures ensured the project was delivered comfortably within the prescribed timeframe.

The impact

Transforming an old Conventional Centre into a healthy and vibrant urban neighborhood for over 4200 people to live, work and play in the Sydney CBD precinct has enormous benefits and positive impacts for the community and environment.

Creating the infrastructure and green space for residential, commercial and student communities to brim with life, has led to positive economic, cultural and recreational outcomes for Darling Square. By applying innovative design thinking to every aspect of the project, Darling Square is an excellent example of urban regeneration.

Almost 40% of the precinct is open public space encouraging an active, healthy lifestyle for residents, workers and tourists in the heart of Sydney’s CBD precinct, with positive economic impacts realized through a thriving retail, dining and entertainment scene. The precinct also achieved a walk score of 99 out of a possible 100 indicating a high level of walkability and accessibility to public transport options and surrounding precincts – a continuous drawcard for visitors, residents, workers and tourists to Darling Square, a new and sustainable way of living in the heart of urban Sydney.

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