Junya Ishigami’s Cloud Arch for Sydney

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Sydney is already a world class city, but we’re still determined to be reborn with a new look for the future. Central to its public plan for 2030 is the Cloud Arch by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, a large scale ribbon form soaring to the sky and arcing over George and Park Streets from the Queen Victoria Building. Commissioned under the City of Sydney’s City Centre Public Art Plan, it was chosen out of 700 entries submitted from around the world by a jury that included architect Richard Johnson.

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Ishigami’s Cloud Arch will taper and curve in two directions, and act as a gateway to the pedestrian section of George Street, with the light rail passing underneath it. Changing shape depending on the viewer’s vantage point, it will be visible from many parts of the city centre and is set to become a landmark meeting place for Sydney-siders and visitors alike.

By virtue of its placement, scale, quality and power to spur the imagination, Cloud Arch is set to become the signature entrance gate to the newly transformed pedestrian street.

“The Cloud evokes comfort, openness and freedom. Through freedom, it is connected to cloud computing which, in turn, links to the quality of ‘Connected City’ so important to Sydney”. Junya Ishigami, 2014

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Ishigami, a visiting professor of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2014), is the winner of the coveted Golden Lion for best project at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale (2010) and the Architecture Institute of Japan Prize (2009).

“Cloud Arch will be the most exciting design to emerge on the Sydney scene since the Opera House. I know it will become a Sydney icon. The sculpture demands views from all angles, it is puzzling and beautiful as well as an engineering masterpiece, I hope they construct it with haste.” Penelope Siedler.

Originally announced in 2014 costs are now expected to also soar to more than three-fold its original estimate of $3.5 million to $11.3 million based on the increased cost of steel and also owing to changes made to its footings caused by the light rail construction.

Ishigami describes the work as an ethereal ribbon. Since its redesign due to site constraints and change to location of the footings, it will now reach 58 metres into the sky .

To cover the increased cost, City of Sydney staff has postponed the construction of Hany Armanious’ gigantic replica of a milk crate which was also under the City Centre Public Art Plan.

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

“The cloud evokes a spirit of openness and freedom. The soaring arch, by reaching for the sky, encourages people to dream and to be bold in striving to realize their ambitions.”

Cloud is part of the City’s plan to pedestrianize George Street and introduce a new light rail. Like other major cities around the world a gateway arch makes a lot of sense to describe the vision of the city. We instantly think of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, the Roman triumphal arch in Rome, Wellington Arch London, India Gateway of India Mumbai and their modern counterparts like Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago to name a few. The historical examples were built to commemorate victory, persons of importance, or convey civic and religious messages and were elaborately decorated with cornices and statuary.

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

Artists impression. Photo supplied by the City of Sydney

The modern counterparts of course have a different purpose and message including often that of unity, harmony, peace, vision, aspiration and of course to put on show the economic and social strength and stability of the city.

Completion date is expected before March 2019