The GPT Group’s Wollongong Central Development Named a Finalist in Architizer's A+ Awards

(March 20, 2015) - The GPT Group's Wollongong Central Development, designed by HDR | Rice Daubney (our Sydney architectural design studio), is a finalist in the Architizer A+ Awards. Competing in the "Shopping Center" category, the project is going head-to-head with four other projects in Norway, China, Abu Dhabi and Indonesia.

Finalists in the Architizer A+ Awards compete for two prizes: the Judges' Choice, awarded by a large panel of judges, and the People's Choice, awarded based on public voting. Click here to vote for the Wollongong Central Development.

Now in its third year, the A+ Awards have become the largest and most definitive global architectural awards program, with thousands of projects being submitted by firm's from around the world. Created to make architecture a topic of global discussion and celebration, the A+ Awards global audience exceeds 100 million viewers; last year's program included over 200,000 public votes. The diverse jury comprises not only well-known architects (e.g. Jeanne Gang, Julien de Smedt, Bjarke Ingels), but other business and cultural luminaries who commission and support great architecture (e.g. Joe Gebbia of Airbnb, Yancey Strickler of Kickstarter, Paola Antonelli of MoMA).

More about the GPT Group's Wollongong Central Development

Located just over 50 miles (approximately 80 kilometers) south of Sydney, the design of the GPT Group's Wollongong Central Development proudly reflects the natural beauty and rich culture of the region, creating a renewed social heart and retail destination for Wollongong that fuses architecture, art and culture. The project was designed by HDR Rice Daubney, HDR's Sydney design studio.

Inspired by a desire to do more than simply create a building, the project becomes pivotal in creating a truly catalytic urban transformation for Wollongong. The built form creates a three-level "public street" that connects the northern and southern parts of the city. This connection allows the building to be permeable on many levels and knits together both existing and future parts of the city, making connections possible far beyond the built form.

The city of Wollongong characterized by a unique dichotomy—on one hand, it is perceived as being a tough and gritty place defined solely by its history as a steel town. On the other hand, it's viewed as a rich, almost achingly beautiful destination held tightly between the Illawarra mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. These two contrasting elements define the architecture of Wollongong Central. A jagged and rough outer shell reflects the grit, while a warm, sensual interiorscape reflects the beauty.

In addition to creating space for 80 new retailers, much of the center is dedicated to food and the role it plays in Wollongong's culture. The ground floor houses a grocery store and fresh food precinct that embodies the visual overload of street markets and the eclectic melting pot of items found in the family kitchen. The street level houses alfresco dining options that respond to the life of the street and the city. And the upper level veranda houses a light-filled food court featuring window boxes that perch over the street and giant opening doors (like big eyelids) that tilt open to provide fresh air and connections to outside.