Packer names British architect for casino on iconic Sydney site
Agence France-Presse in Sydney
Australian tycoon James Packer has picked a British firm to design his proposed billion-dollar casino for Asian high-rollers in Sydney, saying yesterday it will be "instantly recognisable around the world".
The mogul, who wants his 60-storey building to rival the Sydney Opera House as an iconic structure, selected Wilkinson Eyre Architects ahead of two American firms also on the shortlist. Wilkinson Eyre is best known for designing Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, the Mary Rose Museum in Britain and the Guangzhou International Finance Centre.
"Crown Sydney will be instantly recognisable around the world," said Packer, who has casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and plans a complex in Manila. "Its iconic curves and fine lines celebrate the harbour and create an architectural 'postcard' that will help attract international tourists and assist Sydney to compete with other global destinations."
His plan is for a six-star hotel - Sydney's first - and a VIP invitation-only gaming resort that will be the first in the world with no slot machines, which traditionally account for a large slice of casino revenue.
If permission is granted, it will be built at the Barangaroo site in the shadow of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a prime location once a dock. The New South Wales state government is still considering whether to give Packer the green light.
Wilkinson Eyre director Paul Baker said it was one of the best sites in the world and the design was be inspired by nature. "Its curved geometry emanates from three petal forms which twist and rise together," he said in describing the building.