The Green Square masterplan identified the OVO site as needing to provide a tall gateway building for the precinct, while respectively integrating with its surrounds. OVO is the tallest building within the masterplan and is located at the entry to the new GSTC. The design challenge was to create a tall, urban gateway building celebrating the new town centre without creating an architecture that was brash or arrogant.
The design solution created an elegant elliptical form with a highly detailed façade, bringing a refined sense of identity to GSTC. Drawing inspiration from the colours of the Indigenous Eastern Coastal Banksia Scrub, OVO’s façade is composed of approximately 1,800 panels in 75 different shapes and 12 different colours, achieving a coherent response. Balconies are hidden behind the glass line of the curtain wall to create a distinctive continuously curved form, which provides spectacular panoramas of the city, whilst maximising natural light and environmental performance. The curving arc reduces overshadowing to the surrounding public domain and minimises wind exposure.
OVO’s impact on the urban context is to celebrate the gateway to the new town centre. From a distance, the tall simply curved form gently places a marker on the urban skyline, hinting at the precinct. At the pedestrian scale, the richness and warmth of the coloured glass façade brings liveliness and excitement to the new town centre’s gateway. Environmentally, OVO has been designed with full consideration of passive design techniques (solar orientation, shading, natural ventilation). Technological advancements (zoned air conditioning with automatic temperature control and day/night changeover, LED lighting) reduce the building’s dependency on artificial lighting, heating and cooling.
Despite the masterplan calling for a tall gateway building, FJMT’s design still challenged the Local Environment Plan (LEP) and the Development Control Plan (DCP). Mirvac and Landcom negotiated with City of Sydney proposing a merit-based assessment of the planning controls and enabling the iconic design to come to fruition. OVO’s ground level presence connects to the new town centre’s public realm with six new boutique retail tenancies activating the surrounding laneways and streets. At the heart of Green Square, OVO offers access to a wealth of public amenities being delivered by the City of Sydney including a new civic plaza, library, parks and an aquatic centre. Proximity to transport links enhances connectivity and walkability. OVO has a unique and highly detailed façade consisting of approximately 1,800 glazed panels in 75 different shapes and 12 different colours working together to achieve a coherent and memorable response to this gateway position. The pixelated pattern of the glazed façade references the Indigenous flora of the Eastern Coastal Banksia Scrub and pays homage to the masonry factories, which previously occupied the precinct. Challenging the residential norm, balconies are hidden behind the glass line of the curtain wall to create a distinctive continuously curved form.