A Sydney Harbour setting, within the UNESCO World Heritage curtilage of the Sydney Opera House, Campbells Cove Promenade Upgrade reinvigorates a crucial link along the waterfront of Sydney Harbour and its “Cultural Ribbon” – a walk that celebrates and connects some of Sydney’s most significant cultural landmarks, places, and landscapes along the Harbour.

This important public space provides a distinctive curtilage and setting that responds to The Rocks Heritage Precinct, Sydney Harbour and the iconic Australian landmarks, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Expression of time:

The expression of history in the landscape is fundamental to the design. Archaeological finds are woven into the promenade as is the pre-1788 shoreline in the form of pixelated granite setts. Sydney contemporary context is also expressed through material selection, in the form of pre-cast concrete elements that perform a variety of functions and utilised state of the art design practices and innovations such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) to deliver an accurate and consistent finish.

The site’s context has been instrumental in the selection of a recessive material palette which has enhanced the ‘sense of place’ that ensures the heritage buildings beyond are respected and showcased. The materials and finishes centred on the use of bronze, warm tones of stone used throughout the paving and hard surfaces. Contemporary interventions that have been carefully integrated into the design include a complex series of pre-cast concrete elements that compliment and strengthen the existing built form character and allows for an intimate relationship with the water’s edge.

Material selection also played an important role in delineating vehicle and pedestrian priority spaces while retaining a large open plaza for events and gatherings. The pedestrian promenade levels have been lowered by up to one metre to restore the relationship of the Historic Campbells Stores building to the harbour, and the complex vehicle movements required to service cruise ships berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Referencing the historic elements within the design including the 1788 shoreline coupled with the integration and celebration of archaeological finds uncovered during construction allowed the public domain to narrate the site’s stories past and present.

Designing a city space for people:

The design had to prioritise and resolve a number of competing operational requirements and public user needs whilst being sympathetic to the heritage overlay. The resulting design established several character zones each with individual spatial and functional requirements. The central plaza space provides a multi-use shared zone pivotal to the city’s festival programme such as New Year’s Celebrations, Australia Day Celebrations and Vivid Sydney. Whilst complying with strict security requirements of the Overseas Passenger Terminal to provide adequate space for complex vehicle movements required during cruise ship days. The Promenade, Bay X stair, The waterfront & the existing fig trees.

Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: JPW
Location: The Rocks, Sydney

Design year: 2019

Year Completed: 2020


LILA 2024 Sponsor