Australia can set an example: it recycles old skyscrapers

The AMP Centre, once Sydney’s tallest building, was built in the 1970s so it’s relatively old now. The skyscraper’s owners didn’t think otherwise either: they wanted to see a newer, bigger, more energy-efficient building instead of the once-great building.

Image source: 3XN

At the same time, razing buildings to the ground and then rebuilding them can consume immeasurable amounts of money and time, not to mention the huge environmental footprint of the process, so investors got the chance to be the first to test the new technology. The designers had a big, but not impossible dream: they wanted to keep as much of the old skyscraper as possible and almost add a new one, thus saving all costs, time and carbon dioxide emissions.

This is how the world’s first “recycled” skyscraper was born.

Image source: 3XN

At 206 meters high, 49 stories high, and retaining more than two-thirds of the original tower, the building won the Building of the Year award in a flash after its completion. The new name for the architectural masterpiece was the Quay Quarter Tower and it is located in the center of Sydney, offering a beautiful view of both the famous Opera House and the city’s harbour.

Fred Holt, one of the building’s designers, said: “Although the AMP Center itself has reached the end of its life cycle, the supporting elements that make it up and the core of the building still have a lot of potential, so it seemed obvious to them to envision a new tower, one that maintains As many original items as possible.

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The task is brilliantly accomplished, with 95 percent of the original building’s core successfully integrated into the ultra-modern masterpiece.

Image source: 3XN

At the same time, the construction presented special challenges that the designers had to take into account in advance. This was, for example, matching new items with existing ones. This was solved by erecting another semi-building around the former and old support elements after removing the unusable elements, then enclosing the glass façade, thus forming the new unit.

At the same time, joining the two parts of the building was more difficult than it seemed at first. Skyscrapers have a habit of sinking and collapsing somewhat under their own weight, especially right after they are completed.

To eliminate this, a gap of about 4 meters was left between the parts of the building until the last stage of the works, in order to minimize the consequences of subsidence. In addition, hundreds of sensors have been placed in various parts of the building in order to accurately monitor any future structural changes.

Image source: 3XN

The renovation cost about $670 million, and recycling saved the investment company more than $100 million, and prevented 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The designers refer to the building as a “vertical settlement,” with offices, shops, and a plethora of rooftop terraces. From the outside of the completed building, there is no indication that we are not dealing with a brand new tower, the designers have completely integrated the predecessor and the aft.

Image source: 3XN

A representative of the design firm said: They hope their pioneering solutions will serve as a model for other architects from now on, showing that there is indeed a reason why buildings recycle and that it can be made a reality.

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