Architect Kengo Kuma Wrapped a Giant Wooden “Nest” Around a Building in Sydney

The Exchange by Kengo Kuma

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, known for his innovative use of wood, has made a splash with his first building in Australia. Located in Sydney's Darling Square, The Exchange is a mixed-use civic building whose entire exterior is wrapped with timber to create a visually stunning nest around its windows. By using organic forms and materials, the Japanese architect places The Exchange in harmony with the nature that surrounds it, standing in stark contrast to the harsh geometric structures of the surrounding buildings.

“Our aim is to achieve an architecture that is as open and tangible as possible to the community, and this is reflected in the circular geometry that creates a building that is accessible and recognizable from multiple directions,” shared Kuma. “The wooden screen wraps the exterior of the building in a dynamic and exciting manner, a historical reference to Darling Harbour originally being a hive of business activity and a focal point as a market exchange.”

The Exchange is the heart of Darling Square, which was once the site of a parking lot and entertainment center. The seven-story building helps animate the pedestrian-focused area and includes both retail and civic spaces. Three stories are used for retail shops and restaurants, including a market, while two others house the Sydney Library. The last two levels, which are leased by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, are used for child care.

By extending the timber out into the square, Kuma gives continuity to the overall space and creates a shady pergola for visitors to lounge. The building is just one part of a larger project that aims to revitalize Darling Harbor. And as a focal point for the community, The Exchange is sure to attract residents and visitors alike.

The Exchange in Sydney's Darling Square is Kengo Kuma's first piece of architecture in Australia.

The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Exchange by Kengo Kuma

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Japanese architect is known for his creative use of wood and has wrapped the building in a timber “nest.”

The Exchange by Kengo Kuma

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

Kengo Kuma Architecture in Australia

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Exchange by Kengo Kuma

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

Contemporary Architecture in Sydney Australia

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The mixed-use building contains retail spaces, restaurants, a library, and a child care center.

Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Brett Boardman

The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Martin Mischkulnig

The Exchange at Darling Square in Sydney

Photo: Brett Boardman

Kengo Kuma: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [dezeen]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.

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