Iconic artwork signals day Sydney becomes a true people’s place

City of Sydney Cloud ArchThe City of Sydney has released an updated design for Cloud Arch – its ambitious new public artwork outside Sydney Town Hall, to be built by March 2019.

Designed by visionary Japanese artist and architect Junya Ishigami, Cloud Arch is a majestic steel arch that will soar 58 metres above George Street and increase Sydney’s pulling power on the global tourism stage, similar to Chicago’s Cloud Gate and St Louis’ Gateway Arch.

When complete, the sculpture will span from the QVB across George Street to the intersection with Park Street, with light rail and pedestrians moving underneath. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the construction of Cloud Arch symbolises the moment the city centre finally becomes a people’s place.

“Making our city work better for the people in it every day has been a key priority over the last decade and the light rail project is a big part of that,” said the Lord Mayor. “Light rail and the transformation of George Street finally gives our city centre a true people’s place where the pedestrianised George Street meets Sydney Town Hall and our new Sydney Square.

“Our residents and businesses have consistently told us they want more public artwork. Cloud Arch is our gift to the people of Sydney – a stunning marker of the day the city is finally handed back to its people. Cloud Arch is the most significant artwork to be built in Australia for decades and will help raise our city’s profile on the world stage. It will become a symbol for Sydney and a popular drawcard for residents, workers, tourists and visitors.”

The updated design includes an arch that is almost doubled in size after a number of technical challenges with the initial design. Complex technical constraints beneath George Street have altered the location of the footings which in turn required alterations to the artwork’s structure.

The unforeseen constraints related to rail tunnels, retail tunnels, the Cross City Tunnel and major underground services. Further challenges have arisen due to the light rail construction work and the City’s ability to access the site while construction works take place.

The loop of the arch has also been enhanced to better frame Sydney Town Hall, the QVB and important monuments and buildings at the heart of the city. The new design and cost of materials, including the 140 tonnes of steel for the larger arch and a 43 per cent rise in global steel prices since December 2015, means the cost of the project has increased from $3.5 million to $11.3 million.

City staff have proposed that the increase in cost could be covered by postponing and using funds set aside for Hany Armanious’ Pavilion artwork and re-allocating savings from the public domain budget – a result of a number of voluntary planning agreements that the City struck with developers.

By comparison, the cost to install Chicago’s Cloud Gate was AUD $39.2 million and St Louis’ Gateway Arch was AUD $24 million in 1965. Councillors will consider a report detailing the updated design at a Council meeting on Tuesday 29 August.

“The value that this artwork will add to the city centre cannot be underestimated,” said the Lord Mayor. “The additional investment will be repaid many times over through the hundreds of thousands of visitors that will visit Sydney to view the artwork, dine at nearby eateries and spend money at local businesses, boosting the local economy.”

“It will become one of the most photographed landmarks in our city and add to Sydney’s standing as one of the world’s great cultural capitals.”

Once approved, construction of Cloud Arch is expected to be complete before March 2019. For more information, visit: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au for details.

Image: Artist Impression of the Cloud Arch – courtesy of the City of Sydney