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Unlocking an iconic site in Sydney


Channel Nine Willoughby Redevelopment



In 2020, SMEC joined with Australian property group Mirvac to redevelop the iconic Channel Nine studios in Willoughby, Sydney, in a project that unlocks the site to the public for the first time in over 60 years.

Located approximately 6 km north of Sydney’s central business district, the site covers 3.2 ha of land. Mirvac acquired the site to bring to life a new community that will feature 10 architecturally designed apartment buildings, approximately 6,000 m2 of publicly accessible open space and complementary retail outlets, with new and upgraded connections.

SMEC is providing civil engineering design and flood management services for the redevelopment.

“Our team has provided value to this challenging site through the delivery of a bulk earthworks strategy and stormwater management plan that will improve construction outcomes,” said Scott Carne, SMEC’s Manager Urban Renewal.

“Through constant communication, strong teamwork and collaboration, we were able to complete the works despite the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. By using 3D modelling and delivering the design in BIM, we were able to present and discuss designs with Mirvac and relevant stakeholders remotely, but in real time, which streamlined the review and approvals process.”

Strategies to improve construction outcomes

The existing topography of the site posed a significant engineering challenge. The steep slope, with an overall fall of 30 m, required careful civil design considerations. These included early project phase 3D bulk earthworks design, building floor level design, positioning and interfacing of the buildings to the surrounding topography.

“Throughout SMEC’s involvement in the project, our team’s focus was to provide solutions that could improve development outcomes, such as more developable and public open space,” said Cameron Miles, State Sector Manager (NSW/ACT), Urban Communities.

“One of the ways we achieved this was by collaborating with SMEC’s geotechnical engineering team to design an earth retaining wall that could lead to more space for public parklands in the development.”

SMEC is looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Willoughby project team in 2021, as final approvals are received, and construction commences.