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Arup, SPRESSER and Peter Besley design elegant, timeless new Pavilion for Sydney’s waterfront

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
16 December 2020

Arup, SPRESSER and Peter Besley have won a national competition, co-creating a visually iconic Pavilion at Barangaroo on Sydney’s CBD waterfront.

Overlooking Watermans Cove, the Pavilion with its columned exteriors, oculus and landscaped roof will be a public meeting space, an event and exhibition venue and ‘an oasis of tranquillity’ according to architect, Jessica Spresser.

Architect illustration of Barangaroo Pier Pavillion c  JESSICA SPRESSER AND PETER BESLEY Architect illustration of Barangaroo Pier Pavillion c  JESSICA SPRESSER AND PETER BESLEY
The Barangaroo Pier Pavilion will give the city a new place to enjoy, connect and meet, and take in the sights of Sydney Harbour. © SPRESSER, Peter Besley

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes announced the design as the winner, ahead of 170 entrants. He said the timeless design celebrates “the natural elements of land, sea and sky that compose the site”. 

Architect illustration of Barangaroo Pier Pavillion c  JESSICA SPRESSER AND PETER BESLEY Architect illustration of Barangaroo Pier Pavillion c  JESSICA SPRESSER AND PETER BESLEY
With its simple and elegant design, the Pavilion speaks to the history and landscape of Barangaroo. © SPRESSER, Peter Besley

Arup’s David Harding said oyster shells will be used in the concrete mix, acknowledging the local tradition of oyster gathering.   

He added the Pavilion successfully meets the Barangaroo climate positive principles to be carbon-neutral, water positive, minimise waste and enhance community wellbeing.

The Barangaroo Pier Pavilion will give the city a new place to enjoy, connect and meet, and take in the sights of Sydney Harbour. With its simple and elegant design, it speaks to the history and landscape of Barangaroo and considers the users and future of the land. ”

Billie-Grace Dunk Billie-Grace Dunk Project Manager and Engineer

© SPRESSER, Peter Besley

“Public space is so important and this design considers community, with inclusion at the core. Environmental and social sustainability was integral to the design, evident in the consideration of material use, structural design and resources,” Billie-Grace said.

“Working with Jessica Spresser and Peter Besley has been an absolute delight. We became a collaborative multi-disciplinary team, taking Ove Arup’s principle of Total Architecture and demonstrating how effective a high-quality whole systems approach can be.”


The competition brief asked the design teams to create an exemplary work of architecture, that was ambitious, artistic and poetic, while remaining appropriately functional for its required purpose.

The Arup team, led by Billie-Grace Dunk and David Harding worked closely with SPRESSER on creative and functional aspects including structural design, materials, sustainability, lighting, acoustics and landscaping: the partnership will continue for detailed design and construction.

The Arup competition team also included Kengo Takamatsu, Graeme Wood, Mitchell Allen, Ben Moore, Chris Mercer, Miranda Snowden, Rhiannon West, Chris Madigan, James Harris, Matt Davis and Josh Pyke. 

Barangaroo Pier Pavilion design team with Government Minister at media release 15 December 2020 Barangaroo Pier Pavilion design team with Government Minister at media release 15 December 2020
From left: Peter Besley, Jessica Spresser, Minister Rob Stokes, Billie-Grace Dunk and David Harding