Behind the touching artwork seen on Australia's biggest urban development, Barangaroo

What started out as a motivational tool to track progress on Australia’s largest urban development has evolved into a public calendar of significant events as commemorative logos are etched into the towers on the Barangaroo skyscrapers on Sydney Harbour.

The numbered stencils showing the floor levels, visible from around Darling Harbour and to traffic entering the Harbour Bridge, have been replaced at various points by logos marking events such as Christmas and St Patrick’s Day.

One poignant stencil marks the floor being constructed when cricketer Phil Hughes died from being struck on the head by a cricket ball while batting at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A stencil reading “63 not out” was etched into the 13 floor level.

The artworks will eventually be covered by the buildings’ facades.

The three commercial skyscrapers — International Towers Sydney — are being built at the 22 hectare, $6 billion Barangaroo precinct on the western edge of Sydney Harbour.

Barangaroo will provide space for more than 24,000 permanent jobs, generate approximately $2 billion a year to the NSW economy and comprises 11 hectares of new public domain.

A spokesperson for Lend Lease, the Barangaroo developer, said that “when time permits”, the stencils are “placed on the core of the building towers to provide visual interest for the public”.

“The stencils may mark events of national significance and meaning to the 2,500 site workers at Barangaroo South. They also help the public to identify when certain construction milestones are reached on site; for example, we completed level 36 of Tower 3 around the same time as Anzac Day 2015, and so on,” the spokesperson said.

The stencils would allow site workers to “opportunity to leave their legacy on the project.”

And here’s what the towers look like.

To commemorate the 100th centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, two stencils (23rd and 24th floors) were painted on Tower 1.

In November 2014, Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes was fatally struck in the head. To honour his passing, Lend Lease stenciled 63 not out when the 13th floor was completed, remembering his final score.

The 21st floor was completed prior to Christmas and so both a holidays greeting and Happy New Year message was added to Tower 3.

For Australia Day, which falls on 26 January, the corresponding floor of Tower 3 was plastered with a giant Australian and Aboriginal flag to celebrate the national day.

And of course a three-leafed clover for St. Patrick’s Day on Tower 1.


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