‘The Cutaway’ cultural space at Barangaroo Reserve

  • 2016

  • Architectural
    Urban

Designed By:

  • WMK Architecture

Commissioned By:

Barangaroo Delivery Authority

Designed In:

Australia

‘The Cutaway’ is a vast and flexible naturally ventilated multi-use events and cultural space positioned beneath Sydney’s new Barangaroo Reserve.

‘The Cutaway’ is a unique project and has become an iconic Australian landmark destination.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • 'The Cutaway' is a totally flexible shell that can be used in a variety of innovative ways. The space is a large, raw, concrete void that can be transformed for any purpose. Hidden beneath the Reserve, the space does not detract from the park's natural form and beauty. At a cavernous 6,500sqm, 'the Cutaway' can be transformed for a multitude of uses. The venue hosts everything from exhibitions and food events to fashion shows and corporate events. Since opening its doors, the space has been tested by a variety of public and private events including the OzHarvest CEO Cook Off, the Sydney Festival, and the Myer Fashion Showcase. The diversity of these events highlights the malleable nature of the space.

  • 'The Cutaway' is naturally ventilated and maximises opportunities for natural lighting via outdoor connections with the park. Light levels are adequate for daytime events without the need for artificial lighting. The removal of the planned skylights resulted in an enhanced dramatic contrast between the lit rock and the cavernous space within 'the Cutaway'. Ventilation was pre-tested using computational fluid dynamics to verify ventilation characteristics, particularly in corner areas. A concrete corner folding near the entrance helps to slow the wind velocity from southerly winds. Modelling predicts a good hybrid between optimum visitor comfort levels and stable conditions needed for exhibitions.

  • The lift connects the park, the events and cultural space, and car park. The glazing assembly comprises high performance laminated glass with a custom-designed seraphic frit, flush-jointed structural silicone. Fritted glass skin layered over the concrete core captures the rough beauty of the construction process while dissolving the mass into the landscape. Its form is transparent, providing views to the harbour. The combination of reflectivity, transparency and frit patterning visually integrates the lift with the landscape. The lift is not air conditioned - a rooftop passive ventilation system draws up cool air, keeping the shaft ventilated and cool and is supported by mechanical fans for backup.

  • WMK designed a cafe for future use. The sandstone-clad cafe completes the architectural wrap of the building. The facade is left raw, ready for finishes, while structural capacities allow for future floors and cladding. The cafe has been flexibly designed, as its future use has not yet been determined. The space could easily be utilised as a cafe, restaurant, or gift shop. Due to its prime position, perched high on the cliff-side at the Reserve, the cafe offers spectacular views to the city. When tenanted, the cafe will provide a prime breakout space for organisations using 'the Cutaway' to host events. From the cafe, the park, events space, and car park are easily accessed by the adjacent lift.

    The car park is completely hidden, discretely tucked under the landscaping of the park so as not to detract from its form and natural beauty. The car park is an essential component of the park, improving access for the hordes of park visitors and event attendees for the adjacent 'Cutaway' cultural and events space. The car park can house up to 300 vehicles. The car park is linked to the rooftop park, the future cafe, and the events space by the glass shaft lift. More than 1,200 tonnes of sandstone were excavated and innovatively reused to create the foreshore (Barangaroo, March 2013). The sandstone was placed strategically around the foreshore to echo the shoreline of the past.

    The new cultural space within Barangaroo Reserve ties the City of Sydney to the people of Millers Point. Previously disjointed and separated spaces featuring major gaps in terrain height now effortlessly connect. Visitors are able to easily traverse the site - via pathways, the glass shaft lift, or stairs. The new design has vastly improved accessibility for people with mobility issues.

    The cavernous 'Cutaway' and its associated car park are completely hidden away beneath Barangaroo Reserve - a new six hectare harbour park and recreated headland. Huge beams running along the roof of 'the Cutaway' support the vast parkland above, which features mature planting including Moreton Bay Fig trees. As the vast space is tucked beneath the park, the structure has been fitted with a highly sophisticated leak detection system.