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Arc Honors The Historical Context Of Its Urban Surrounding


Winner of the City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition in 2013.

Arc represents an architectural statement that combines craftsmanship and texture to create a contemporary tower that respects the rich historical context of its surrounding urban fabric. A pair of 26-storey towers with a distinctively arched roofscape becomes the latest mixed-use building to join Sydney’s celebrated skyline. The two slim towers rise from an 8-storey masonry podium inspired by the heritage buildings in the area. The 300,000 handcrafted bricks blend seamlessly within the delicate historic context creating a public through-site connection between Clarence and Kent Streets. The name, Skittle Lane, dates to the 1980s and draws its name from its past life as a bowling alley from sailors and soldiers.


Above, 59 fins travel up the length of the building culminating in an organic crown feature, instantly distinguishing Arc from the rest of the skyline, a curved roof form that celebrates how the tower meets the sky. The concept relates to the historical context of the site. We carefully studied the proportions of the arches and materiality used historically in Sydney. The design has a heavy masonry character at the base, whereas the tower above has finer, lighter materiality. Despite our expectations, we have been overwhelmed with positive messages about the use of traditional brickwork. People have responded to the warmth and use of traditional methods being brought back to a modern city center where most buildings are glass and metal.


Inspired by the masonry component in the significant heritage buildings next door; The Red Cross Building and Andrew Bros Warehouse, and drawing from their characteristic arches, a duality is introduced to the façade and represented by the varied aesthetics of the podium and tower. Informed by the curvilinear nature of Sydney Harbour and the brickwork in neighboring buildings, the materials and details have a level of intricacy and authenticity that relates strongly to Sydney’s past. The majority of the city has flat-topped buildings everywhere. Arc explores an opportunity to open up the rooftop. We designed to celebrate the great outdoor lifestyle that Sydney is famous for, and the first high-rise residential design to break the mould.


We convinced the city and our clients that there is more value in using the roof for public amenity instead of private apartments – imagine a city where people can escape to the rooftop, where the architecture facilitates social interaction and the reimagining of the urban environment. An organic crown feature instantly distinguishes Arc from the surrounding context, a curved roof form that celebrates how the tower meets the sky. The rooftop opens up a new dialogue with what is possible in our future cities activating not only the ground plane but also the sky-plane. When you come up to the Arc rooftop, you can see the Sydney Harbour as a backdrop to the city view. The curved roof arches connect you with the organic and undulating lines of Sydney Harbour and its best natural assets.








Project: Arc by Crown Group

Function: Multi-Residential

Architecture and Interior design: Koichi Takada Architects

Clients: Crown Group

Location: 161-165 Clarence Street & 304 Kent Street, Sydney, Australia

Status: Completed in 2018 Site area: 1,447 m2 GFA: 17,400 m2 FSR: 12.02:1

Height: 80m

No. of apartments: 135 residentials, 86 serviced apartments, 221 totals

Range of apartment sizes: 38m2 – 150m2

No. of floors: 26 above ground and 6 below ground

No. of Bricks: 300,000 approx (279,680 bricks delivered to site)

No. of rooftop arches: 59

Consulting: Van Der Meer

Consulting Builder: Hutchinson Builders

Façade Engineer: Inhabit / Surface Design

Masonry Façade Engineer: AECOM (Brick)

Bricklayer (Masonry Subcontractor): Favetti

Photography: Tom Ferguson, Martin Siegner, Martin Mischkulnig, Simon Wood

Photography with courtesy of Koichi Takada Architects


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