"...the consent authority almost refused approval for the Centre because it didn’t look like a nineteenth century stone edifice, yet it came to be one of the city's most highly patronised and intensively used facilities..."
The site of this centre is in the dense historic birthplace of Sydney, the Rocks, a heritage precinct characterised by a concentration of finely grained eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings and narrow streetscapes. Lippmann Partnership was commissioned by the City of Sydney to prepare designs for a new centre proposing a contemporary design complimentary to the precinct on the basis that views from the Cahill Expressway to Circular Quay were preserved and the scale of the building was contributory to the streetscape. The proposed contemporary design initially created controversy with the consent authority – the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority – but was finally approved and has since become one of the City of Sydney’s most highly patronised public facilities, in constant demand by residents, local community groups, city office workers and corporates alike. The curved cross section of the building maintains views to Circular Quay and has negligible impact on the street. Rising up to the required height to comply with sports code requirements, the scale of the building over the bleachers is intentionally low and intimate. The curved 35 metre span steel roof trusses express the building’s structure internally while the external envelope consists of a steel and glass facade and roof. The eastern facade is completely transparent allowing views through the building during the day and night and exposing the community mural painted onto the east wall of the Harbour Bridge expressway. Natural ventilation is induced through low level louvers in the east facade with high level louvers below the roof gutters at the top of the truss. Natural light enters the sports court via the translucent roof sheeting above the sports hall.