Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Centrepoint (formerly AMP Tower) (see also Westfield Sydney City)


Crone Partners, consulting engineers, Wargon Chapman & Associates Pty. Ltd


Pitt and Market Streets


1969-74 (2007- retail section below currently being heavily renovated by Westfields and JWA Architects, with the addition of a new commercial tower and recladding of the ATO building).


Late 20th-Century Late Modern


see notes section. Hyperboloid structure. Tower 250m.


Office Building
  The Turret
  "Skytours" at the Turret at the top of the tower; (click images for larger versions).
  Above- 100 Market Street office block, to be reclad in 2008.
Sydney Tower (also known as the AMP Tower, AMP Centrepoint Tower, Centrepoint Tower or just Centrepoint) is Sydney's tallest free-standing structure, and the second tallest in Australia (with the Q1 building on the Gold Coast being the tallest). It is also the third tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere (after Auckland, New Zealand's Sky Tower and Melbourne, Australia's Eureka Tower, though Sydney Tower's main observation deck is almost 50 metres higher than that of Auckland's Sky Tower). The Sydney Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

The tower stands 305 metres above the Sydney CBD, being located at 100 Market Street, between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets. It is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall, and sits upon Centrepoint (to which the tower is often referred), an office building and shopping centre. The tower is open to the public, and is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city, being visible from a number of vantage points throughout town and from adjoining suburbs.

While AMP managed the Centrepoint shopping centre, the tower was officially referred to as "AMP Tower". After Westfield Group took over ownership of Centrepoint in December 2001, the tower reverted to its original name of Sydney Tower.[2]

Construction of the office building commenced in 1970, and tower construction began in 1975. Public access to the tower, at the time the fourth tallest building in the world, began in September 1981. The total cost of construction was A$ 36 million.

Prior to construction of the tower, the height limit in Sydney had been set at 279 m, to allow for safe overflights by flying boats, an aircraft type that had been obsolescent for almost two decades.

In July 2008 one of the lifts malfunctioned 200m from ground level with 11 people inside. Another lift was used to evacuate the stranded passengers who exited via the ceiling after 1.5 hours. Despite the first lift malfunction and stranded passengers, people continued to be admitted to the tower by the remaining lift.


There are three main sections of the tower open to public access. One is the observation deck at 250 metres above ground level with a fully-enclosed viewing platform featuring 360 degree views of the city and surrounds. This floor also features a small gift shop, a readout displaying data on the conditions of the tower (wind speed, direction and sway amplitude). The Sydney Tower Skywalk platform at 268 metres above ground level has an open-air viewing platform only accessible as part of planned and booked tours.

There are also revolving restaurants, one à la carte and one buffet. The buffet restaurant was recently (2006) renovated. It seats 220 people, and serves 185,000 customers annually, of which 50,000 are international visitors, mostly from Asia.[5]

The tower has a maximum capacity of 960 people. Travel from the ground to the tower is via three high speed double-deck elevators that reach the observation deck in approximately 40 seconds if on maximum speed, this depends on wind conditions at the time.

Cultural events
Leading up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, the tower was decorated with sculptures of athletes, which were positioned above the main body of the tower and in some cases overhung the edges. These sculptures were removed in 2003 and relocated to Sydney Olympic Park at Homebush. The figures were placed atop the tower using an Erickson S-64 Aircrane heavy lift helicopter known as "Elvis".

On several occasions, the tower has been used to launch fireworks or it has been illuminated with coloured lights as part of various celebrations in Sydney, such as New Years Eve or during the Olympics in 2000.

Every year, the Sydney Tower Run-up comprises the challenge of running up 1,504 stairs from Pitt St mall to the Observation Deck as quickly as possible. The event is to raise money for the Cancer Council, and the two winners become eligible to compete in the Empire State Building Run-up.

- Each year an event called the "Tour Run Up" has runners scale the 1312 steps (1504 total) to the top. They start at the podium level (30m up) and run 94 flights of stairs with 13 steps each. Record is 6 minutes, 52 seconds set in 1998. 
- The tip of the Tower is 320 metres above sea level. 
- Eight-floor turret, "golden basket", has 420 windows. 
- To the top of the turret roof is 275 metres. 
- The lengthy 7-year construction period was chiefly due to work stoppages, yet the project was on budget at $26 million. 
- Called Sydney Tower during design and construction, opened as Centrepoint Tower, then renamed AMP Tower in 1998. 
- AMP Tower was sold in mid 2002 and now owned by Westfields PTY LTD. A lightning rod was added to the top of spire in 1998 which extended its overall height to 309m (327m above sea level). 
- During the tower's construction, the turret (which was constructed at the base of the shaft), was raised up the shaft in increments as the shaft grew ever higher. 
- The shaft itself is constructed from 46 pre-cast units, each of which weighs 27 tonnes. 
- The tower is robust enough to withstand very strong winds and earthquakes and is stabilised by 56 cables which if laid end-to-end would stretch from Sydney to New Zealand. 
- Ascent of the tower is achieved by 3 high speed double deck elevators which complete the trip in around 40 seconds. 
- The turret has a capacity of 960 people with two restaurant levels, two telecommunications floors, three plant floors and an observation deck. 
- The tower's windows are cleaned by machinery which recycles the cleaning water. 
- The AMP Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. 
The Sydney Tower sits a whopping 250 metres above Sydney city, the views from the tower are breathtaking and take in from as close as the Harbour Bridge and Opera House to sights as far away as the beaches to the mountains. You'll look down on one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 
The tower has a capacity of 960 persons, and contains two levels of restaurants, a coffee lounge, an Observation Deck, two telecommunication transmission levels and three plant levels. To get there you can travel in one of three high speed double deck Lifts take approximately 40 seconds to travel from top to bottom or if you register for the annual Sydney Tower Run-Up you can get there by climbing 1504 stairs. 
It was first going to be known as "The Centrepoint" after a competition called "Name the Tower" put to the public by The Sun Herald in 1968 and was proposed back then to be worth $25 million to build - lol.

Crone conceived Sydney Tower in 1968. Construction of Centrepoint's shopping areas began in late 1970 with the first 52 stores opening in 1972. The office component was completed in 1974.

Construction of the tower component began in 1975 and was completed in 1981. However, building this tall tower was no small feat. Engineers had to overcome the potential problem of Sydney’s winds on the structure. The tower was designed to withstand a “once-in a-thousand” year storm, bending in winds in excess of 162 mph, as well as an earthquake of a force never anticipated to occur in Australia. 56 cables stabilise the tower.

An 11-storey shopping and office complex is @ the base and the golden turret consists of 9 levels. 4 of them for public useage - the top 2 levels used for the observation decks and just below 2 for revolving restaurants; one restaurant revolves clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, but at exactly the same speed.

The other 5 are operation floors that can be found above the public floors. They include plant levels containing essential equipment.

The turret was jacked up from the top of the 11-level base over the 2 years of 1977 and 1978, reaching its current position in 1979. The spire above the turret was placed atop in 1980.

Besides hoisting the turret from the top of the office component to the top of the shaft, there were a few construction strikes around Sydney (and elsewhere around Australia) at the time including the Centrepoint site.

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. Once the first three sections were in place, a gantry crane was erected to hoist the remaining 43 barrel units.

Each barrel unit was completed with lifts rails, stairwells and hydrolic risers before hoisting. The shaft contains two sets of fire stairs, fire, electrical and plumbing ducts in one half and the lift shafts in the remainder.

The tower itself weighs 2.239 tons. One of the floors in the turret contains a 162,000 litre water tank which serves as a counterbalance to the wind gusts.

The golden turret has a total 420 windows.

The Centrepoint Tower, Sydney

This is a tower with a total height of 320 m, constructed on top of a sixteen level reinforced concrete building in the Sydney Central Business District. It serves as both a communications tower and as a tourist facility, with observation platforms and restaurants in a turret at the top of the tower. As the tower is constructed on top of a multi-level building, it was essential that lightness and minimum frontal areas exposed to wind loading be achieved. The designers adopted a design in steel consisting of a central column braced by closely spaced steel cables. The central column is 6.8 metres in diameter and is composed of segments built of fifty-six 250 mm x 250 mm universal columns rolled from AUSTEN 50, a high strength weathering steel. The column is braced by fifty-six inclined cables 182 metres long forming a hyperbolic paraboloid surrounding the steel shaft. Each cable is composed of two hundred and thirty-five 7 mm diameter high high-tensile wires which have been protected against corrosion by hot dip galvanising. The turret is an eight-level welded steel frame structure which was fabricated at the tower base and progressively lifted as construction of the shaft advanced. The steel shaft contains lifts, stairs and services for the turret.

Figure 8

Centrepoint Tower, Sydney

The tower was designed by consulting engineers, Wargon Chapman & Associates Pty. Ltd., was fabricated by Johns & Waygood and erected by Concrete Constructions (NSW) Pty. Ltd. It was completed in 1981 and during the first year of operation attracted some 1.3 million visitors.

Special thanks to 


Sydney Tower website

Sydney Tower (from the Sydney Tower / Oztrek website. Accessed 2008-06-21.)
Westfield Group Limited. Westfield Centrepoint (from the Westfield Group website. Accessed on 2008-03-02.)
Eleven trapped in city lift. Sydney Morning Herald 2 July 2008
Tower under fire after lift drama. Sydney Morning Herald 3 July 2008
Revamped restaurant for Sydney Tower - Yahoo!7 News, Friday 2 February 2007
The Sydney Tower. Sydney Online Pty Ltd.. Retrieved on 2007-02-10.
New home for athletes of steel. Australian Government: Department of Communication, Information Technology and the Arts (2003-06-1). Retrieved on 2006-10-14.
Sydney Tower Run Up (from the 'Supersprint' website)