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Keating: Casino designs heading in the right direction

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates submitted this design

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates submitted this design Photo: Supplied

The former prime minister Paul Keating has welcomed the design finalists for James Packer's proposed hotel and casino at Barangaroo, declaring that each of them is ''heading in the direction of being a significant building for Sydney''.

Mr Keating, a former chairman of the Barangaroo Design Excellence Review Panel, has previously called for the building proposed by Mr Packer be akin to a Brancusi sculpture.

The idea of sculpting the essence of the sculpting from nature is the right direction to go.  

Responding to the public release of the three finalists on Friday morning, Mr Keating said it was a ''brave decision'' by Mr Packer's company, Crown Limited and the developer of Barangaroo, Lend Lease, to run an external design competition.

"Take your breath away.": One of the designs by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture.

"Take your breath away.": One of the designs by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture. Photo: Supplied

''But I think it's paid off for them,'' Mr Keating told Fairfax Media. ''Any one of the three buildings is heading in the direction of being a significant building for Sydney.''

Mr Keating said the buildings ''have in essence the one thing I thought they needed to have, which is a sculptural quality''.

However, he said it was too early to nominate a favourite.

The design submitted by Wilkinson Eye Architects.

The design submitted by Wilkinson Eye Architects. Photo: Supplied

''I think it's important that the designers be given the opportunity to develop out their designs, including how they touch the ground plane,'' he said.

Mr Keating said he was particularly pleased that the designs had drawn their inspiration from nature.

''The idea of sculpting the essence of the sculpting from nature is the right direction to go, rather than simply seeing a geometric building with the hand of man all over it.''

Mr Packer ramped up his pitch for a hotel and casino at Barangaroo on Friday morning by unveiling the three finalists, several weeks before the state government is expected to decide whether to grant the company approval to proceed with the project.

As Fairfax Media revealed last year, Mr Packer is pushing for the right to increase the allowable height of his proposed development from the current approved 170 metres for a hotel at Barangaroo to as high as 250 metres.

This would allow the new building to dominate the commercial towers approved for the site, and afford sweeping views of Sydney harbour and the city.

Crown has more recently indicated it wants the building to be about 235 metres tall. However, a Crown spokesman said the height had yet to be finalised and will be "subject to normal planning processes and departmental approval".

The designs proposed by finalists Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Wilkinson Eyre Architects were chosen by a design panel assembled by Crown as part of an international design competition.

In a statement, Crown said the designs were being reviewed by a panel of representatives from Crown Resorts, Lend Lease, the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The panel is expected to make a decision on the winning design later this month, Crown said.

If Crown receives a green light from the state government to proceed with the project, the final design of the building would be subject to approval from the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the planning department.

Crown says the hotel complex would have 350 guest rooms and suites, four restaurants, a rooftop pool and "luxury retail facilities".

In the statement, Mr Packer said the designs were "truly inspiring" and "take your breath away".

"Sydney deserves one of the world's best hotels and these amazing architects have all delivered," he said.

"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.”

Crown's proposal for a VIP-only casino and six-star hotel complex at Barangaroo is being considered by a state government panel chaired by the former banker David Murray, which has been asked to assess the net financial benefit of the project to NSW.

The panel was due to report in April, but the decision was delayed after Crown's rival, Echo Entertainment, launched a bid to expand its Pyrmont casino, the Star, and extend the exclusivity of its casino licence beyond the current expiry date of 2019.

If the government favours Echo's pitch, it would scuttle Mr Packer's plans as he has argued the hotel is only financially viable with the revenue that a second Sydney casino would deliver.

The Murray panel is expected to give its recommendation to the state government by the end of the month.

202 comments

  • Where are the designs at the current approved 170 meters? Or is this a fait accompli BTW. Meters is spelt so, not Metres.

    Commenter
    AndreP
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 03, 2013, 9:41AM
    • Errrr... we're not in America. Americans can't spell. Don't follow them.

      Commenter
      albertktau
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:29AM
    • As a measurement of length, it is spelt metre unless you are using American English. Meter in our language is used for objects that measure and records time/distance/speed etc.

      Commenter
      bw
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:32AM
    • no it's not, unless you are talking dials. measurement is metres.

      Commenter
      Blueyes
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:35AM
    • Maybe if your American, u might want to recheck your metre AnderP

      Commenter
      Hornberger
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:35AM
    • Andre: you might want to retract that last claim...

      Commenter
      Spellchecker
      Location
      Everywhere
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:36AM
    • Move to America if you prefer their spelling.

      Commenter
      John
      Location
      Syd
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:48AM
    • Really AndreP?? You should brush up on your spelling skills before posting the first comment on a SMH article. Ask someone you see today to spell metre for you.

      Commenter
      SpellChecker
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:50AM
    • As we are measuring a distance and are not American it is spelt metres.

      Commenter
      scott
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:54AM
    • Incorrect mate, it's metres, unless you're talking about electricity meters, etc.

      Commenter
      English
      Date and time
      May 03, 2013, 10:54AM

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