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Crown Sydney
Crown Sydney Barangaroo.jpg
Crown Sydney in January 2021
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Alternative names One Barangaroo
Record height
Tallest in Sydney since 2020
Preceded by Chifley Tower
General information
Status Complete
Type Mixed use
Location Barangaroo, Sydney Australia
Address 1-11 Barangaroo Avenue
Construction started October 2016
Topped-out March 2020
Completed December 2020
Opened December 28 2020
Cost A$2.2 billion
Owner Crown Resorts
Height
Tip 271.3 metres (890 ft)
Observatory 250 metres (820 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 75
(71 above ground)
(4 below ground)
Lifts/elevators 10
Design and construction
Architecture firm WilkinsonEyre
Developer Crown Resorts
Structural engineer Robert Bird Group
Services engineer LCI
Main contractor Lendlease
Casino information
No. of rooms 350 (hotel)
82 (apartments)
Casino type Land-based

Crown Sydney (also referred to as One Barangaroo), is a skyscraper in Barangaroo, Sydney, Australia. Developed by Crown Resorts, it mainly comprises a hotel, residential apartments, and a casino. It was designed by WilkinsonEyre, standing at a height of 271.3 m (890 ft) with 75 floors, making it the tallest building in Sydney and 4th tallest building in Australia. Construction first began in October 2016, before topping out in March 2020. Crown Sydney was completed in December 2020.

Proposal and controversies

Initial concepts for a hotel development in Barangaroo as part of its urban redevelopment program first circulated in 2010. These concepts mostly centred around a 213 metre (698 ft) tall hotel tower built on a pier extended 150 metres (492 ft) into the harbour. Following public backlash, the height of the tower was lowered to 159 metres (522 ft) and the length of the pier was reduced to 85 metres (279 ft).These proposals failed to gain traction.

In February 2012, James Packer's casino group, Crown Resorts, presented an A$1 billion+ proposal to Premier Barry O'Farrell to build a hotel, casino and entertainment complex at the site on land that was set aside for open space at Barangaroo Central, a departure from previous concepts of building a tower on an extended pier in the harbour. O'Farrell initially welcomed the proposal, yet cautioned it would need to gain regulatory approval before going ahead.

The proposal drew widespread criticism from the Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Paul Keating, and former government architect, Chris Johnson. In October 2012, Premier O'Farrell announced that the NSW Cabinet had reviewed the proposal and decided that the government would enter into detailed negotiations with Crown Resorts for the establishment of a casino and hotel complex at Barangaroo. Tony Harris, a former Auditor-General of New South Wales was critical of the decision−making process, claiming the public could miss out on millions of dollars. Packer wrote a defence of his proposal for the press.

In July 2013 after a recommendation from an independent steering committee, O'Farrell announced the Crown proposal would be moved to Stage 3 of the unsolicited proposals process, the final stage where the parties will negotiate a binding contract. The government is to receive a $100 million upfront fee for the licence, despite being offered $250 million with alternative tax arrangements which the steering committee's economic advisor Deloitte calculated was a superior offer. Crown's intention is to lure Chinese high-rollers to its Sydney casino leveraging off its interests in its Macau casinos and taking advantage of a new streamlined visa process introduced by the Australian government for Chinese citizens wanting to gamble at Australian casinos.

In November 2013, it was announced that Crown Sydney had received approval for the casino licence and place at Barangaroo. In November 2015, Packer expressed his frustrations over the delaying of the project from strenuous government planning laws. Following this in March 2016, a series of proposals to change aspects of the building were recommended by the State Government in order for the project to receive final approval. This included the introduction of a new recess in the interior as well as new cladding on the south side of the building. An observation deck on the 66th floor from a height of 250 metres (820 ft) above ground, as well as public access to the upper floors, was also proposed.

In June 2016, the casino received final approval from the Planning Assessment Commission on condition that the casino met needs proposed by the commission, including adequate public spaces and access. Despite this approval, the Millers Point Fund lodged legal action against the project in early August 2016 challenging the validity of the casino and aiming to have construction on the project halted. Crown Resorts responded, stating they would "vigorously defend" their actions. The dispute was held in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales in late August, with a decisive dismissal of the Millers Point Fund's claims.

In November 2020, Crown Resorts was investigated by Liquor & Gaming NSW after Crown Resorts admitted to money laundering in some of its VIP accounts at Crown venues in other states. Consequently, Crown Sydney was blocked from opening the casino entity of the tower, although other operations within the tower remain unaffected.

Construction

Lendlease was contracted for the main construction of the structure, while the Robert Bird Group oversaw structural engineering and LCI as head of MEP servicing.Initial site works commenced in October 2016, starting with an excavation and decontamination of the site, mostly of remnants of asbestos; indicative of the site's industrial history. Excavation of the basement and foundation works would continue throughout 2017. Between February and March 2018, tower cranes were assembled on site, to commence works on the main core and floorplates, which would see the structure start to rise throughout 2018. A top-down method of construction was utilised on the core.

By March 2019, the structure had reached a height of 120 metres (394 ft). The structure continued to rise throughout 2019, reaching a "halfway point" in its construction by May 2019, which would be followed closely by the installation of approximately 7000 triangular glass panels for the facade of the building. The main core of the structure topped-out in March 2020, followed by the floorplates which topped out and reached the building's full architectural height in May 2020. Fit-out of the internals of the building and facade continued throughout 2020, before completion was reached in December 2020. Crown Sydney was officially inaugurated to the public on December 28th 2020.

Design and layout

Crown Resorts launched a design competition, seeking expressions of interest from eight architecture firms with experience in similar hospitality focused projects. A shortlist of designs from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, Kohn Pedersen Fox and WilkinsonEyrewere subsequently selected in 2013, and a Jury panel was formed for the selection of the hotel's final design and Principal Architect. The Jury panel consisted of representatives from Crown Resorts, Lendlease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority as well as a prominent architect representing the NSW Department of Planning and an observer from the City of Sydney.

Subsequently, the Jury unanimously voted on Wilkinson Eyre's design, who was announced by Crown as the hotel's architect in May 2013.

The design and form of the tower takes inspiration from natural forms and curved geometry, emanating from three "petals" that twist and rise together, The geometry of the tower was derived using parametric 3D modelling, to accommodate a 60-degree twist in the outer skin with helical columns on the perimeter while maintaining a vertical core structure. According to Wilkinson Eyre, the tower "is derived from a sculptural form that is reminiscent of three twisting petals and takes inspiration from nature, being composed of organic forms without literal or direct reference". Additionally, the twisting shape of the upper and intermediate levels of the tower are designed to maximise views of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Founding architect Chris Wilkinson further describes the design of the tower as "a sculptural form that will rise up on the skyline like an inhabited artwork, with differing levels of transparency, striking a clear new image against the sky”.

The casino floor along with bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues occupy the podium of the tower. Crown Resort's six star hotel occupies the lower levels of the tower from levels 6 to 32, including the protruding lower south east wing of the building. Private residential apartments occupy levels 33 to 63 of the tower, while duplex penthouses occupy levels 64 to 66. A public observation deck occupies a small section of level 66. The tower is topped with the hotel's "sky villas", occupying levels 67 to 69, with utilities making up the remaining levels of 70 and 71.

Gallery

Sociological criticism

Researchers from the Responsible Gambling Fund financed, University of Sydney Gambling Treatment Clinic, have suggested that strategies such as a minimum bet size are not likely to prevent the local community from being affected by problem gambling. They have suggested that students, new immigrants and working class individuals are typically and more likely found to be losing large amounts of money at Casino style table and electronic games.

Academic researchers have suggested that while the casino is initially not licensed to offer poker machines, it will inevitably gain a licence in future years.

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