Sydney, Australia (November,1997) - After months, even years of anticipation, one of the grandest casino complexes in the Pacific Rim is ready to make its debut.
Star City opens with a gala event attended by 50,000 on November 26th, 1997. The complex was designed by American architects The Hillier Group in a joint venture with Australian-based Cox Group. From the distinct Australian flavor of its themed interior spaces to its exterior, a sinuous wave-like form relating to its location on the harbor, the entertainment complex is a most unique facility. In addition, it is one of Australia’s largest building projects including not only a casino with public and private gaming facilities, but the 2,000-seat Lyric theater, a 900-seat cabaret theater, five-star hotel, high-rise apartments, 14 restaurants and bars, a 1000-seat ballroom, conference facilities, retail and commercial space, parking for 2500 vehicles, a major traffic interchange which includes a light rail station, and vast public areas.
“We are immensely pleased with the way the project has turned out,” says Project Principal Henry (Hank) Abernathy of The Hillier Group. “The result is not only fun, it’s exciting and innovative design.”
Water and sandstone are key design elements, according to Abernathy, celebrating the diverse Australian landscape through use of bold colors and forms. Many colors found on the Great Barrier Reef and the outback are represented here, from rich ochres to fiery oranges, deep blues and forest greens. Aboriginal themes, developed and executed by an an aboriginal artist are also incorporated.
The entertainment complex was designed very much with the public in mind, stresses Abernathy. All segments can enjoy the facility, from serious theater-goers who can attend concerts and large-scale musicals at the Lyric Theatre to local residents who can shop at the convenience store. Landscaped plazas interspersed with water features are open to all, and are provided with tables and chairs for outdoor eating as extensions of the many restaurants fronting the plaza. Sculptures, colorful signage and banners add a festive atmosphere in which to enjoy views of the harbor and Sydney skyline
Star City was developed by a consortium that includes Leighton Properties, part of Australia’s largest construction and mining firm, as well as Showboat Development Company. Michael A. Demling Associates served as the Casino Architectural Consultant.