Words: Paul McGillick – Habitus magazine Editor
Settled in the same year as the colony was founded in 1788 –
because it offered quality farm land which Sydney lacked – Parramatta has long
been officially a city. But it has always lacked the urbanity of a true city –
until now, because the demographics are rapidly changing. Government
departments are moving their headquarters there along with a range of
commercial companies, including lawyers and accountants.
The new Gallery development – 246 apartments with eight
commercial units on the ground floor – close to the heart of the CBD is a
response to these changes, offering quality residential space and amenity
comparable to inner-suburban Sydney.
No doubt the strong hint of ‘Bali-style’ owes something to
the Crown Group’s CEO, Iwan Sunito, who is an Indonesian-Australian. The
building was designed by Joshua International Architects, Watermark Interior
Designers and Taylor Brammer Landscape Architects and stands almost as a
gateway building to Parramatta with its lively façade the first thing one sees
driving off the freeway towards the city.
The two towers are linked by a screened spine and ceremonial
entry with a decorative gate. Inside, water features and lush topical plantings
connect the lobby with the gardens. A library and functions room form the two
arms of a U-shaped garden leading to the 25 metre-swimming pool with its timber
decks and Balinese-style gazebo. The complex also includes a
Scandinavian-inspired sauna and fully-equipped gymnasium.
Surrounded by low-rise buildings, the apartments enjoy
spectacular views, especially from the penthouses on the 16th and 17th
With more such developments in the pipeline, Parramatta is
starting to offer the kind of amenity appropriate for its size and importance,
but so far noticeable for its absence. The planning mistakes of the past are
now being addressed and the city is changing rapidly and, with any luck, its
rich historical heritage will soon be matched by more quality contemporary
buildings such as the Justice Precinct, NSW Police Headquarters and Sydney
Crown CEO, Iwan Sunito, Minister for Housing The Hon David Bodger, and Crown’s Paul Sathio