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The re-purposing of historic Paddington Reservoir

Paddington Reservoir Gardens is the re-purposed site of a historic water reservoir which accepted water from the Botany Swamps pumping station for supply to parts of Sydney between 1866 and 1899. The Reservoir was originally constructed in two stages, completed in 1866 and 1878. The water chambers were built below street level with a grassed park above, that was opened to the public in the 1930’s.

Photo credit: City of Sydney

TZJ Architects and JMD design describe how they were commissioned in 2006 by the City of Sydney to convert the Paddington Reservoir into a public open space, amid the general expectation that the site would be capped off and a brand new arrangement built on top.

Instead, the architects believed the concept for the new was embodied in the old, and collaborated to reveal the 19th century structures as a ruin through which the public could wander, taking in the dramatic spaces and play of light across the remnants of historic walls and vaults on this glorious site. View the portfolio

Since the 1950s there have been a number of attempts to demolish the reservoir and/or use the space for carparking. The long standing community efforts to preserve the reservoir are a testament to the high level of regard in which it is held by the community.

The multi-award winning project has been recognised both nationally and internationally.

2011 – Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence: Asia Pacific. Paddington Reservoir Gardens.
2010 – International Architecture Award, The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies, Paddington Reservoir Gardens.
2010 – National Australian Institute of Architects Award for Urban Design.
2010 – National Australian Institute of Architects Heritage Award. 2010 – Lloyd Rees Award for Urban Design, Australian Institute of Architecture (NSW) Awards.
2010 – Greenway Award for Heritage, Australian Institute of Architecture (NSW) Awards.
2010 – Australian Medal for Landscape Architecture, Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture.
2009 – The Australia Award for Urban Design, Planning Institute of Australia.
2009 – Landscape Architecture Medal, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.
2009 – Design Excellence Award, Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (NSW).
2009 – Officer of the Valuer General Heritage Award, Australian Property Institute.



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