Sydney’s biggest building project now has the attention of one of the world’s greatest architects

Lend Lease’s latest artist’s impression of Barangaroo

The Italian architect who designed the London skyscraper The Shard, the New York Times building in Manhattan, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Renzo Piano, will design three high-rise apartment buildings at Sydney’s harbourside Barangaroo development.

Developer Lend Lease announced that Piano had been chosen to design the towers as it announced changes to the site that include higher, but fewer buildings and a 9% increase in gross floor area for buildings to accommodate Jamie Packer’s Crown Sydney hotel and casino.

The apartment towers will be known as One Sydney Harbour. As part of proposed changes announced today by Lend Lease, which require NSW government approval, two of the Piano buildings increase in height to 250m and 210m, while the third falls to 107m.

Piano’s The Shard. Photo: Getty.

The architect said he wanted his buildings to have “a gentle presence in the cityscape and in dialogue with the harbour waters”.

“The brightness of the sky will be captured, refracting the glittering Sydney light, right to the top where the penthouse apartments and gardens merge into the sky. The result is a graceful functional building that captures and plays with light, like harbour waters in the morning sun: a place that Sydneysiders will be very pleased to embrace,” Piano said.

It’s not the first time the Pritzker Prize-winning architect has worked with Lend Lease. Fifteen years ago, he designed the $550 million Aurora Place office tower and Macquarie Apartments on Macquarie Street.

The development adds another 750 high-end apartments to the site, alongside the 159 apartments in the low-rise waterfront Anadara and Alexander blocks, which are due to open later this year.

The Piano towers sit beside the $2 billion Crown Sydney tower, which includes a casino, hotel and residential apartments.

His buildings will also sit beside the office towers designed by his former collaborator, Sir Richard Rogers. Together they designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris in the 1970s.