Location: Market Street, Sydney Central Business District
Part of the inner city's Westfield shopping complex, at 305 metres, AMP Tower (1981) is the tallest public building in the Southern Hemisphere, an honour it seems set to retain for some time if not forever. Standing at 305 metres, Sydney Tower is the tallest man-made structure in Australia. The turret contains two revolving restaurants and a coffee lounge/function room on levels one to three, an Observation Deck is situated on level four, with two telecommunications and three main plant levels above.
Though office buildings in the Sydney Central Business District have gotten higher and higher since the tower was completed, none have come near to blocking the view from the Observation Deck and Restaurant. That view extends east down the Harbour to Manly, Bondi and the Pacific Ocean; west to Penrith and the Blue Mountains; north almost to the Hawkesbury River, and south to Sydney airport and beyond. Entry fee applies.
About The Tower
Its shaft, designed to withstand excessive winds and earthquakes, houses a 1,474 step staircase and three double decker lifts which give access to the nine level turret. The turret contains two restaurant levels, two observation levels, a 162,000 litre water tank which aids stability on windy days, and a 30 metre high spire which functions as a radio mast.
The Centrepoint development (now operated by Westfield) was conceived in 1968 and comprises over 140 shops, extensive commercial office space, overhead and underground pedestrian promenades and the high-rise tourist and telecommunications tower. 56 cables stabilise the Tower and the strands of these cables, if laid end to end, would stretch from Sydney to Alice Springs or from Sydney to New Zealand. The turret is serviced by three high-speed double-decker lifts having a car capacity of 14 persons or 452 kilograms and capable of moving 2,000 persons per hour.
Construction of the Centrepoint complex began in late 1970 and the first 52 shops opened in 1972. The office block was completed in 1974 and the Tower, the final stage of the complex, was finished in August 1981. The building process took 14 years. Building of the first stage of the tower was completed in October 1977. Seven stories of the turret were jacked 115 metres above Pitt Street and the first stage of the 56 cables was attached to an intermediate anchorage ring. This in itself was a painstaking task, with each cable weighing 7 tonnes! But this was only the first stage of an exacting engineering feat that resulted in a nine-storey building more than 300 metres in the sky.
The shaft supporting the turret is made up of 46 barrel units, each weighing 27 tonnes. These were brought on to the site in seven pieces and welded together. Each unit was completed with lift rails, stair well and hydrologic risers before hoisting. The shaft also contains two sets of fire stairs, fire, electrical and plumbing ducts in one half and three lift shafts in the remainder.