The Bennelong Wave is a proposed development to replace the current Bennelong Apartment complex of Circular Quay. Designed to complement the neighbouring Sydney Opera House with its white finish, arches and glass facade, the Wave’s organic undulating form has also been designed to connect with, and bridge the gap between, the two distinct modes of landscape it is
bounded by. The Wave is a study of the way in which architecture can connect both physically and symbolically with the landscape around it. From the water, the undulating curves of the roof provide a metaphorical link to the waves of the harbour, while the partially grassed roof, gradually sloping upwards from ground level at its rear to its highest point at the water’s edge, connects with the parkland of the Botanical Gardens by providing a physical extension of the landscape.The Wave is also an exploration of contemporary energy efficiency, with a relatively low, squat shape designed to increase the surface area exposed to sunlight at any given time, and allowing maximum efficiency from the solar panels and skylights installed on the roof.
The Bennelong Wave will be a mixed residential, retail and recreational complex. Retail shops and restaurants will occupy the lower levels, with some of these retail outlets fronting on to the pedestrian walkway, and the others forming a large shopping centre further inside. The upper levels will consist mainly of residential units, the majority of which will enjoy stunning harbourside views. It is envisaged that the gently sloping roof will capitilise on its physical connection to the Botanical Gardens by being open to the public, allowing sightseers the opportunity to experience fantastic views from the very top, as illustrated in the image to the right.
The Wave was inspired by a study into the ways in which surface architecture can be used to create links to the landscape, as well as to promote environmental sustainability. The works of Toyo Ito were of particular significance in regards to this. His use of complex geometry to mimic aspects of nature, as well as his attempts to blend his architecture with the landscape by physically submerging parts of his buildings, directly correlates to what the Wave attempts to achieve. An example of this is the Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, which features an elegantly
curved roof symbolic of a bird in flight, while an entire section of the building is sunken into the earth, its roof transformed into a hilly landscape. The architecture firm B.I.G. Architects was
another source of inspiration, with their dynamic explorations of the boundaries between built and natural elements through the grassing of large sections of their designs.
The iterations presented here explore variations both in form and surface structure. The seven iterations on the left are alternatives to the rooftop curves seen in the montages above. These variations were produced through altering the frequency and amplitude of sine curves within
Grasshopper, and it is interesting to note the potential impact these alternative forms could have on the way in which the building links to the harbour. The five iterations on the right explore different representations of materiality and surface structure on the roof of the Wave, and the potential ramifications of this both on the aesthetic qualities of the building and on its energy efficiency. For example, the merits of long open strips across the roof for lighting and ventilation purposes versus a more enclosed, tighter configuration.