Australia: AFS playing a key role in redevelopment of Australia’s second-biggest business district

Spearheaded by the Australian property giant Walker Corporation and conceived by Johnson Pilton Walker Architects, the redevelopment of Parramatta Square is one of the largest urban renewal projects in the country. AFS Bachy Soletanche's teams are playing a central role in this 2.8 billion-dollar scheme covering almost three hectares. Here's an overview over the first stage.

The objective is simple: to bring a fresh dynamic to the business district of Parramatta, a city in New South Wales located on the Cumberland Plane some 25km west of Sydney.

The urban renewal project comprises eight packages. The biggest package involves the 26,000m2 precinct of the University of Western Sydney Campus, which will welcome some 10,000 students, as well as community facilities, a civic building, a community centre, a library, and a 205-metre long public space in the heart of the city – a prerequisite for the authorities to greenlight the project. The commercial zone will include two towers complemented by tenant suites, conference facilities, childcare, an auditorium, and a commercial catering kitchen.

Soletanche Bachy’s local subsidiary, Advanced Foundation Solutions (AFS), is involved in stages 4, 6 and 8, subcontracting for Mainland Civil. Stages 4 and 6 are made up of the mixed-use commercial towers, including 110,000m2 of premium office space aimed at a wide range of private clients along with several public institutions such as the Department of Planning and Environment, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Environment Protection Authority, and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. The ground floor podium will host 3,000m2 of retail on two levels, with the lower ground level providing an underground link from the tower to Parramatta railway station.

The proximity of this station, which remains operational throughout construction, led AFS’s teams to propose a solution involving diaphragm walls with barrettes and temporary anchors. In the first phase of the work, temporary anchors were not possible, so barrettes were designed to replace the anchors to retain the diaphragm wall in front of the Parramatta railway station. The diaphragm wall was constructed with a Liebherr LRB155 and a compact XS2 Hydrofraise®, using 1.8m cutter wheels giving a 3.6m cut which was a first for this particular machine. The wall consists of 10,800m2 of excavated material with 6,000m2 of medium to high strength rock.

The second phase also required a diaphragm wall with the south wall to be constructed in close proximity to the live rail. The Australian subsidiary was supported by additional design and value engineering from our design team at Soletanche Bachy India, and a temporary anchor solution was offered to the client in place of the barrettes previously used in stage 0ne. This resulted in both cost savings and reduced construction time on the initial programme, with full respect for safety. This phase of the works corresponds to stage 8, which involves the construction of the flagship building in the new district, the Aspire Tower, the tallest proposed residential tower in the southern hemisphere, at 233metres and comprising some 700 apartments.

The urban transformation that will unfold over the next four years will allow the city to compete with Sydney CBD in terms of office space and infrastructure.