9 July 2020

$4.7 million development to revitalise City West precinct

| Ian Bushnell
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Pedestrian plaza on William Clemens Street

An artist’s impression of the centrepiece pedestrian plaza on William Clemens Street. Images: Canberra Town Planning.

The owner of two distinctive office buildings in City West plans a $4.7 million revitalisation for the precinct, with the centrepiece being a new pedestrian plaza connecting them.

ISPT’s commercial properties at 7 London Circuit and 18 Marcus Clarke Street are instantly recognisable by their curved, glassy architecture, and separated by William Clemens Street.

The company now wants to upgrade the public domain and streetscapes around them and refurbish the ground floor of the London Circuit building, and install a new childcare centre.

A pavilion is also planned between the rear of 18 Marcus Clark Street and the William Clemens St road reserve to support the pedestrian plaza.

The DA prepared by Canberra Town Planning says this ”bold vision for the area will transform the psychology of the space and provide a platform for engagements, interactions and experiences”.

”The enterprising and innovative plans to renew the space will focus on creating healthy, positive experiences by improving client, visitor and public amenities, by increasing the diversity of ground floor tenancies, and significantly improving the interplay with street frontages.”

Aerial view

An aerial view of the proposed works.

The design team of TSA Management, AMC Architecture, OCULUS, TTW and WSP say the plans will “create a new destination that is inclusive – activated by various uses, by various people at various times. It blurs the boundary between workplace and lifestyle”.

The works will also complement the extension of light rail along London Circuit to Commonwealth Park and the expected economic development it will bring along the route.

The main ground floor entrance to 7 London Circuit will be re-imagined, with a central atrium connecting to William Clemens Street and the second building, and changes to the facades.

A revised café/retail space adjacent to the atrium area is planned, within the building and extending into the colonnade fronting London Circuit.

7 London Circuit

The entry to 7 London Circuit and the cafe.

The idea is for on-site eateries to blend into the atrium space and encroach on to the verge where outdoor seating will be provided.

Part of the proposed 50-place childcare centre will extend into the London Circuit verge as an outdoor play area where existing trees will be retained and a bespoke fence will screen it from both London Circuit and Farrell Place.

Car parking for centre staff will be allocated within the basement level car park, and pick-up/set-down spaces are proposed along London Circuit by extending the existing drop-off bay, while new spaces are proposed for Farrell Place.

Part of William Clemens Street will be closed to create a pedestrian laneway between the two buildings with new paving and landscaping.

The DA says the design will create a softer, brighter and more protected landscape than the current under-utilised streetscape.

The plaza

The plaza between the two buildings.

”Paved surfaces, the removal of kerbs, well-spaced shade planting, canopy structures and landscape furniture will all work together to encourage pedestrian movement and casual occupation, particularly during lunchtime hours, when the space receives direct midday sunshine,” it says.

ISPT wants to take responsibility for maintenance of the space through a licence agreement, with the area to remain as public Unleased Territory land.

On the Marcus Clark Street side, new pavement and landscaping will integrate with that proposed for the William Clemens Street road reserve, as well as the installation of the pavilion.

Two trees are set to go while three will be retained.

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