A new art gallery and performance space in inner-Sydney

Phoenix Central Park is a multifaceted building with a performance space in one half and a private art gallery in the other, with the two halves connected by a central garden. As each half of the structure had its own architect, co-ordination between TTW engineers, the architects, and the builder was critical to the success of the project.

The five storeys concrete frame was built with several inclined walls, including large voids creating complicated load paths through the structure. Engineered with complex curves across the street frontage and through the centre of the building, its envelope is clad with custom handmade bricks. They incorporate impressive 8m high double circular windows, which sits in a compound curved wall framed in structural steel.

The roof over the gallery spaces created design challenges. The unique geometry and the complex series of trusses, supporting pop up hoods with inclined windows, resulted in some of the truss nodes having six members connecting into a single point. TTW worked closely with architects, fabricators, and builders to rationalise the complex design and resolve buildability issues.

This unique facility created further demands on the engineering such as numerous curved off-form concrete walls and soffits, and a large atrium with one of the galleries hanging from the slab above. The theatre space is built from continuous ribbons of CLT forming a 4 lobed dome.

The structure was built close to the boundary to maximise the available space. As a result, it added complexity to the design and removal of the shoring. Each side of the shoring had a separate removal procedure, which required TTW engineers to carry out extensive finite element modelling to capture the effects on the partially built structure.

Client: Judith Neilson

Architect: JWA and DBJ

Project Manager: Colliers International

Builder: FDC Construction

Completion: 2020

Sector: Art & Culture

Services: Structural


  • 2020 - ACSE Annual Awards - Best Large Project in NSW Award
  • 2020 - AIA National Award - Commercial Architecture
  • 2020 - AIA National Award - The Emil Sodersten Award
  • 2020 - Deezen Award - shortlisted for Cultural Building of the Year
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award Medallion
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award - Sir Arthur G. Stephenson Award for Commercial Architecture
  • 2020 - NSW Architecture Award - John Verge Award for Interior Architecture
  • 2020 - Master Builders Australia - Commercial Buildings
  • 2020 - Master Builders Australia - Excellence in Use of Bricks
  • 2020 - Master Builders Australia - Excellence in Use of Timber

"Assured, sculptural architecture always belies the incredible effort undertaken to achieve the vision. The mainstay of great buildings remains in the partnership between the architects and the structural engineers. In TTW, Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects found an ally whose skills enabled the success of this amazing, once in a lifetime project. TTW's ability to solve the complexities of this dynamic building were second to none, and the results bear this out." Simon Stead, Architect, Durbach Block Jaggers