Sydney Fish Market, Austraila
The new Sydney Fish Market, which was designed by Danish architecture firm 3XN in collaboration with local architects BVN, GXN Innovation, and landscape architect Aspect Studios, is the first step in an ambitious plan to revitalize Sydney’s Blackwattle Bay. The Sydney Fish Market, currently housed in a series of old warehouses and post-industrial buildings, is one of the most significant community and tourist destinations in the city. 3XN’s winning team approached this project with the specific goal of creating more than just a fish market; it is first and foremost a major cultural facility that enhances the existing market operations while creating a generous public amenity which unlocks the waterfront for Sydneysiders and visitors alike.
The building will serve many purposes when completed – a working fish market, an amenity for the city, a cultural destination, an urban connector, and an inspiring icon along the world-renowned Sydney Harbour.
The new Sydney Fish Market is on a 3.6 hectare site at the head of Blackwattle Bay. The design capitalizes on the opportunity to link the bay with the significant green space of Wentworth Park to the south, and thereby the entire Sydney community. 3XN was inspired by the traditional market archetype, which appears throughout history and across cultures. The market is generally comprised of a series of stalls that are open-air but covered by a canopy and located in a large plaza.
Maintaining the visual connection between the public areas and wholesale or wharf operations was one of the architects’ key strategies. In the new building, the ground floor hosts all the functions traditionally associated with fish markets: the landing and loading of fish, the wholesale market, and the auction hall. Meanwhile amphitheater staircases and the foreshore promenade wrap over the operational wharf, offering interwoven visual connections so that visitors can understand what is going on inside, while still keeping them safe and separate.
The amphitheater staircases that lead from the plazas to the public market are a continuation of the surrounding landscape, establishing a foreshore promenade around Blackwattle Bay and opening a new public route along the water’s edge that connects the local neighborhood to the Central Business District (CBD) and Woolloomooloo beyond. The stairs also double-up as places to sit and enjoy the surroundings. So rather than serving only a functional purpose, the stairs are converted into public spaces where people can enjoy their food and the view over the bay to the Anzac Bridge.
The building’s roof is an integral aspect of the fish market’s iconic design but also its overall sustainability strategy. Shaped to respond to the spatial demands of the program below, it also harvests rainwater for reuse, protects the retail spaces from the sun, and filters daylight for operations below. The unique form uses prevailing winds to extract hot air and protects the sellers from southerly winds. The canopy, made from timber and aluminum is designed to be as permeable as possible, minimizing the need for conditioned air, while also deflecting the direct sun. The new fish market maximizes its water recycling potential by a combination of rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling, bio-filtration, and mechanical filtration and sterilization for use in daily operations such as washdown. Biological and mechanical water quality systems are an integral part of the design, focused on conserving this valuable resource. The new building will break ground in mid-2019 and is expected to open in 2023, subject to all necessary approvals.