Architect’s new vision for high-rise: Parramatta’s 400 unit project


A SYDNEY architect whose passion for Australia’ iconic heritage buildings is making a mark on Parramatta.

Jesse Lockhart-Krause has designed a 50-storey mixed housing with commercial spaces on Hunter Street inspired by the Victorian era architecture of St John Anglican Cathedral to preserve the city’s heritage connection.

But while this high-rise housing development project proposed by his firm was in response to urgent housing initiatives in Sydney’s second CBD, it is also designed conscious of making use of natural sunlight and abundant rainfall.

Mr Lockhart-Krause said he was creating 400 high-rise apartments to address the city’s critical demand for more housing, but which design also embraces heritage and sustainability.

As part of Parramatta Council’s targets of reducing greenhouse emissions by 60 percent by 2038, Mr Lockhart-Krause said: “Each residential unit is thoughtfully designed through maximising use of natural light and ventilation as well as active practices such as renewable energy integration into the design, rainwater harvesting, and community engagement aligned with the goal of reducing emissions.”

The tower design (as shown in the photos) is inspired by the spires of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, the project contributing to Parramatta’s unique character.

“The building celebrates the unique character of the area, the design is made for Parramatta, not an international style but a regionalist design to support the personality of this wonderful place,” Mr Lockhart-Krause said.

“That’s what good architecture does, it improves the city. This project aims to address the pressing need for housing in NSW while also preserving the historic integrity of the area.

“It is essential to retain and celebrate the cultural heritage of our past, including the understanding and appreciation for the Indigenous Dharug people who lived in this area.

“The manse is the house the Protestant minister lived in and was designed by local architect Francis Ernest Stow and is a two-storey Federation Queen Anne revival style home.”

The project, nestled within Parramatta Square with the address 41-43 Hunter Street is also next door to key landmarks such as the Parramatta Train Station and the Parramatta Council City Library.

As the architectural firm’s design proposal showed, it preserves the existing 1895 church with a new 230- metre high residential and mixed-use tower, incorporating 30,000 square metres of internal space.

In total, there will be 400 apartments in the 50-storey building, and they will be “diverse range to cater to a wide spectrum of individuals and families,” Mr Lockhart-Krause said. 

His most recent high-profile projects included one of Sydney’s historic gems, the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Lifesaving Club, known as the world’s oldest surf club.

Informally formed by a group of Bondi residents on February 21, 1907, in a meeting at the Royal Hotel on Denham Street, the club now break the world record whose Bondi Club flag has flown across the globe since the 1940s till today.

Mr Lockhart-Krause said he was inspired to “pay homage” to St Johns because of its significance as the oldest church in Australia still open for public use such as regular church services and weddings, just like the Bondi Surf Club building still serving its purpose today.

In his design, Mr Lockhart-Krause said: “As the tower reaches skyward, its apex converges into a silhouette reminiscent of St John’s Anglican Cathedral’s copper clad spires, reinforcing a connection to the city’s urban fabric, a celebration of the local heritage. 

“Together with the adjacent high-rise at 6 and 8 Parramatta Square, they form a pair of sentinel towers, guarding the gateway to the heart of Parramatta. 

“This ensemble not only enhances the skyline but also serves as a beacon of progress and reverence for the city’s heritage and unique architectural character.

“Over time, the bronze blades will mimic the ageing of the cathedral’s now green spires, developing patina on the metal finish, speaking to centuries of history.”

The street level design includes an array of retail spaces blend in with the vibrant commercial hub of activities in Parramatta Square, inviting pedestrians to engage with a mix of shops, cafes, amenities, and outdoor dining spaces.

Mr Lockhart-Krause said their previous 15,000 square metres public space design in the same spot has been doubled to 30,000 sqm to include accessible laneway, childcare and retail shops.


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