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Top Architects Take A Swipe At The Designs For James Packer's Sydney Casino Concept

Anyone who’s ever done home renovations knows how tetchy the conversations can be at the concept stage.

So it’s always fun to watch what happens when someone proposes a major architectural change to a shared public space, like, say, the marquee development of James Packer’s planned casino perched on Sydney’s Harbour.

Top architects have some damning observations to make in a report by Will Glasgow and Jessica Gardner at the Financial Review.

The AFR has spoken to some industry leaders whose not-quite-glowing reviews have drawn a telling response from former prime minister Paul Keating, a long-time advocate for the Barangaroo development. He says the critics “know more about kitchen amendments than the rest of us. That’s about the limit of their expertise.”

Not that there was any question about this, but he’s still got it.

One common theme is that the designs are lacking some Australian-ness; probably understandable given that the submissions are all from overseas design firms.

Packer has said of the proposals: “Sydney deserves one of the world’s best hotels and these amazing architects have all delivered.

“With these sorts of designs, Crown Sydney will be the most iconic building constructed in this city since the Opera House. Whoever ends up winning – it’s guaranteed to be a masterpiece,” Mr Packer said.

Guaranteed? Not in a take-out-insurance kind of guaranteed. Philip Cox, founding partner of Cox Architecture, says: “It’s all a bit Macau, isn’t it?”


And John Agius from the Australian Institute of Architects is also unimpressed, saying the designs “look uncomfortable in a Sydney context”.

One of the designs (which we think are all pretty impressive) looks like a hunting knife.

You can read the full report here.

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