of exhibition space


convention center


flood maps delivered

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The challenge

Sydney’s Darling Harbour has been many things — a food and transport hub during pre-colonial years, a place for shipyards and wharves, and a center for change that introduced Australia’s Industrial Revolution technologies. This is the legacy that the New South Wales government wanted to build on when it unveiled its plan for the construction of the $1 billion International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) that will mirror Darling Harbour’s roots as a hub for people and innovation.


    There is just one problem. Australia’s largest city is a low-lying area that can be prone to flooding especially during heavy rains when water can’t escape quickly. To assess the site’s viability and protect the investments, Arcadis was selected to conduct a comprehensive flood study that would inform the project’s design and development.

The solution

Carrying out the flood study required our team to consider a number of complex issues such as previously unseen environmental factors, tight timelines and long-term impacts on the precinct. We used new and innovative methodologies to develop flood models that capture the unique conditions of the 20ha redevelopment site. This process resulted in the production of a 362-page flood study and 50 flood maps that key stakeholders used to adjust the final design of the project. Specifically, our study revealed that flood levels in key areas were up to 50mm lower than the findings of the previous flood assessment.


    Following the successful completion of the study, we then provided civil, traffic and façade engineering design services for ICC Sydney, which included a 12,000-capacity convention center, 656-room hotel, 40,000m2 exhibition space, ballroom and entertainment facility, and the southern end of the precinct known as Darling Square.

The impact

The results of our flood study allowed floor levels to be significantly lower which, in turn, provided better development outcomes and helped futureproof the precinct from the impacts of flooding. In addition, our involvement in the design of ICC Sydney and Darling Square ensured seamless integration of the Convention Centre to the existing precinct, which helped in achieving a holistic design approach to the entire Darling Harbour area.


    ICC Sydney successfully embodied Darling Harbour’s identity as a melting pot for people and innovation by becoming Australia first fully integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct. The redevelopment has contributed to NSW’s tourism and boosted Sydney’s position in the event’s industry of Australia and Asia Pacific.

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