Urban Harbour, the design work of David Cahill and Hubert Sawicki, is MCHP Architects’ competition entry to Proposition 2065.

The aim of Urban Harbour is to create a vibrant, active and diverse commercial, residential and community precinct.

The site tapers along a stretch of train line, bounded by embankments, weeds, service lanes, car park entries, uninspiring and unharmonuous design. Flanked by a sun filled park and the busy St Leonards train station at one end, the opposite end, a serene natural pocket of Talus Reserve is unused. The spine of large residential and commercial buildings at the end of an urban grid is abruptly cut by the train line. The site is a dry oasis amid clamouring, braking and accelerating trains, recorded announcements of arrivals and departures, the movement of people, trains and vehicles to and from the station and its surrounding office buildings by day and at night fall.

Urban Harbour has a two-storey commercial podium with two multi-storey commercial buildings to the busy southern end of the site and a multi-storey residential building to the quieter northern end. A large central square is a public space for social and commercial interaction and art, elevated from the train line to capture sunlight and breeze. This area views treescapes above buildings towards the local landmark Naremburn church spire. Extending from the square is a community and gallery building, a platform floating out into the tree canopy. A series of pedestrian flows are woven through the site and link to the surrounding open spaces, the train station Chandos Street and Herbert Street.

Proposition 2065 is a National Architecture Competition for a site adjacent the railway station in St.Leonards, NSW. The intent of the competition is to develop architectural concepts that respond creatively to the objectives of the Willoughby Council draft Local Environment Plan 2009 and that also serve as exemplars for mixed-use development in other activity centres across Australia. Innovative and pragmatic development scenarios, providing new models of urban design for future consideration by private sector developers.