henry street penrith
The new building is set to feature 8,000sqm of flexible commercial space. Image Supplied.
  • New site will feature 8,000sqm of flexible commercial space
  • Design takes into account evolving workplace changes
  • The building itself will feature three distinctive forms

Global architecture firm Woods Bagot has been announced the winner of a design excellence competition for a new A-grade commercial building in Penrith.

129-133 Henry Street Penrith, previously the site of the former Council Chambers, will be transformed into 8,000 square metres of flexible commercial space with activated public and retail spaces featuring green space and other sustainable features.

The news comes as Woods Bagot designs are highly sought after – recent projects include a $300 million development in Adelaide’s CBD and the refurbishment of the old Treasury Building in Sydney.

According to the Penrith City Council, construction will support 150 jobs with a further 430 upon completion.

Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown OAM labelled Woods Bagot’s design as innovative and said it will heavily influence the future urban character of Penrith’s CBD.

“The redevelopment of 131 Henry Street will set the benchmark for future city developments and be the catalyst for the revitalisation of the Penrith CBD, alongside Council’s investment in a new City Park and transformation of Soper Place.

“Penrith is well-positioned to become a new commercial centre for growth and innovation, with a number of other projects in the pipeline including commercial space at Soper Place, a new City Park and the $24 million upgrade of Regatta Park.”

Karen McKeown OAM, Penrith Mayor

Woods Bagot Principal, Jason Fraser, said much of the design took into account workplace changes influenced by the pandemic, with the proposal moving away from the typically uniform designs commonly seen in commercial buildings.

“This building is fundamentally different from commercial buildings of the past. It will offer a diverse range of experiences where people can work one day in a garden in the sun, the next at a quiet indoor location and the following at a rooftop overlooking the park.

“Reinforcing its place in civic life by providing a multitude of public uses, green space will flow through the site and connect it with the future City park, creating a heart to the civic and education precinct.”

Jason Fraser, Woods Bagot Principal

Three design forms

The building itself will feature three distinctive building forms.

henry street design
Image Supplied

The first form will pay homage to the former Council Chambers building which featured an interwar modern/functionalist style of architecture – even including reclaimed bricks from the heritage façade that will be recycled in the planter walls of the ground level.

Secondly, the upper tower will be a simple rectangular form that floats above the Mansory podium – which Woods Bagot says will create a landmark, especially given that Penrith is seen as the gateway to the Blue Mountains. This will be referenced through the colour of both its glass and steel structures.

Thirdly, the third form will be an extension of the landscape through the future park that is set to be located adjacent to the site. The future park will be linked with an existing courtyard where a timber pavilion will flow into the site which Woods Bagot says will create an urban oasis.

The development application will be formally lodged by the end of the year as the winning design undergoes further development.

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