Feb 20 2020, by Fleetwood Urban

Flashback February: Barangaroo Northern Cove, 2015

Transforming one of Australia’s most prized waterfronts

Sitting at the north-western edge of the Sydney CBD, Barangaroo is one of Australia’s most iconic urban renewal projects. As part of the multi-billion dollar regeneration – which continues to this day – we were honoured to be chosen by Lendlease back in 2015 to help them deliver a series of high-profile Access structures at Barangaroo Northern Cove.

A bona fide Tier 1 project for the City of Sydney Council, the project had the very keen attention of governments, ASX companies, investors, as well as the general public. This meant the stakes were as high as the mighty office towers that now call Barangaroo home. No pressure.


An international collaboration.

In addition to Lendlease, who held overall responsibility for developing the Barangaroo precinct, the Northern Cove project saw us work alongside prominent USA landscape architect Peter Walker and local landscape architects Johnson Pilton Walker. The brief was to transform the old industrial waterfront into a vibrant and easily-accessible outdoor space that office workers, visitors and residents could enjoy for decades to come. The specific deliverables included recreating the foreshore’s original shape and elevation, while also adding a boardwalk promenade, public deck, jetty and a pontoon for small vessels.

“The quality of the finished product, not only the constructed elements, but also the high level of attention to detail during the documentation stage was remarkable. From the Fleetwood management and design team to the delivery team onsite everyone was polite, easy to work with, and understanding to the ever changing, dynamic situations the construction industry brings our way.”
Jayson Gaul, Project Lead, Lendlease


Rising to every challenge.

Our first contact with Lendlease came during the early concept phases for Northern Cove. From that point, we remained involved right through to the successful installation of all structural elements. Looking back, it was quite a journey!

Not surprisingly for such a high-profile project, there were plenty of obstacles along the way. Thankfully our in-house DesignExecute2™ delivery process proved its weight in gold (once again) and helped to keep everything on track. It eliminated a lot of ‘guesswork’ and always provided us with a clear and structured way to overcome pretty much every challenge, as and when they inevitably arose.

During the early concept stages, I remember there was a lot of pressure to ensure the design and construction of every structure complemented the creative vision for the wider Northern Cove precinct. Material selection was a pivotal part of this, and saw us make extensive use of native timbers, sandstone and painted steel. We also took great care to ensure every material we specified met strict government and BDA standards, as well as Lendlease’s own Chain of Custody and Green Rating requirements. In fact, we later learned this was one of the main reasons Fleetwood was awarded the project. Both the architects and Lendlease knew we had the materiality experience to make it all work, as well as a proven record in delivering the meticulous construction detailing needed – especially carpentry – to compliment the ambitious design.


Working on the edge.

The waterfront site at Northern Cove, literally on the edge of Sydney Harbour, also brought its share of logistical challenges. In particular, we had to give considerable thought to determine how – and where – to physically assemble the different elements and structures to maximise safety and efficiencies, while also minimising any on-site disruptions. Another big installation challenge was how to coordinate and drive the pontoon’s piles – a task we ultimately carried out using a rig mounted on the barge inside the cove itself.

An award-winning result.

Today, nearly five years on, Barangaroo Northern Cove remains a great example of the way Fleetwood’s unique end-to-end capabilities can be harnessed to bring even the most complex of design visions to life. Lendlease was absolutely delighted with the end results – as was the wider industry with the project winning the NSW AILA Presidents Choice Award (2015) and World Architecture News (WAN) Waterfront Award (2015).

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