Sydney, Australia is in the midst of a major urban redevelopment. With its population expected to rise by over 1 million people in the next 25 years, the city has embarked on a mission to become one of the world’s most liveable green cities within the next two decades as part of its “Sustainable Sydney 2030” vision.
One project contributing to this vision has been capturing a great deal of international attention – One Central Park. It’s the centerpiece of downtown Sydney’s master-planned redevelopment, a plan that calls for vertical intensification at major inner city transit nodes.
Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel in collaboration with botanist Patrick Blanc, the project is notable for its unusual use of two technologies; first is a hydroponic system developed by Blanc that allows plants to grow without soil along the façade of the building. The other is a massive cantilevered panel of mirrors – or heliostat system – to reflect light into the otherwise shaded lower levels.
Wrapping the structure in vegetation and green walls creates a visual extension of the surrounding parkland up into the sky, while the shade provided also reduces the energy consumption required for cooling. Meanwhile, the heliostat helps reduce overshadowing of the park space below by reflecting sunlight into areas that would otherwise be permanently shaded. After dark the structure continues to enliven its surroundings by turning the heliostat into an LED art installation designed by French artist Yann Kernel.
One Central Park has been hailed for its innovation in sustainable design and for its potential to inspire new attitudes towards designing urban spaces in a more ecologically mindful fashion. Like this project, we’re looking forward to inspiring new attitudes about urban condo living in midtown Toronto with the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condos this spring.