A new Sydney tower puts timber on show.

Crown Group recently collaborated with the City of Sydney and a panel of expert judges, including independent architects, in a competition for the design of the tallest tower in their upcoming five-building Waterloo development. The major criterion was architectural design excellence.

‘Stacking Forest’, a design by world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, submitted in partnership with Australian architecture firm Koichi Takada Architects, has been named the winner.

The 19-storey tower will feature a cantilevered infinity-edge rooftop pool, gym and community room, with a plant-filled, green exterior designed to emulate a stacked forest.

“Our intention is to give a warm and a natural atmosphere to the community with unique design strategies,” Kuma said.

“The upper volume of the tower seamlessly transforms into the lower part of the stepped terraces in order to create an intimacy between the building scale and the pedestrian scale on the street level.

“Eaves wrapping the façade are covered by sticks which give a warm impression of the wood to the façade.

“The entire façade becomes a vertical urban forest by having a vegetation on each eave. Those strategies will blur and soften the profile building, and give a whole new image of the W48 precinct of the Waterloo,” Kuma added.

Renowned for his designs that show respect for tradition while considering the needs of the future, Kengo Kuma recently designed the New National Stadium (Tokyo) for the 2020 Olympics and the acclaimed V&A museum in Dundee, Scotland.

Kuma’s designs are famous for their innovative use of timber throughout in construction, interiors and exteriors, so expect to see wood products featured in more than just the cladding.

The five-building development also includes three buildings designed by Koichi Takada Architects and a building designed by Sydney-based architects Silvester Fuller.

Japanese-born Koichi Takada began his career in Tokyo and moved to Sydney in 1997. His firm Koichi Takada Architects has won multiple awards for its designs including residential, retail, hospitality and cultural venues.

“It is my honour to work alongside Kuma sensei, the Japanese master of architecture. It is a dream come true,” Takada said.

“Responding to Kengo Kuma’s vision for the tallest of the five buildings, I am excited to design three low-rise buildings that create a dynamic architectural dialogue within the precinct. Crown Group’s on-going vision for Waterloo will continue to positively regenerate the area’s former industrial warehouses with an organic and healthy green neighbourhood, celebrated by their signature resort-style living for residents and a new street culture to benefit the public.”

Takada described the design process that informed his work: “I drew on an idea of ‘green luxury,’ finding inspiration in nature. Each building is designed with a ‘human touch’ to express its organic and distinct architectural character.”

Crown Group Chairman and Group CEO Iwan Sunito said he was proud to have the three architecture firms involved in the company’s landmark development in Waterloo. The collaboration between Kengo Kuma and Koichi Takada was a world first, Sunito said: “Kengo Kuma and Koichi Takada each have their own unique style and ethos, which fit with Crown Group’s desire to push the boundaries of design. Both architects have proven to be true leaders in their field, renowned for their creativity. I feel the collaboration of the two will lead to something new and unique for Sydney.

“We are excited to be able to take the next step in furthering the path of Sydney as it becomes increasingly recognised for its leading architecture.

“This development will be a forward-thinking addition to Sydney’s Green Square redevelopment precinct,” Sunito added.

Stacking Forest will incorporate 384 apartments, plus restaurants, cafes and shops. The entire Green Square Renewal project is planned to create 30,500 new residences and be completed by 2030.