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Get to know Cloud Arch, the new heart of Sydney

Cloud Arch will climb 58 metres outside Sydney Town Hall

Artist impression of Cloud Arch by Junya Ishigami

Project update

The Cloud Arch artwork is on hold. Unfortunately, due to many factors and ongoing delays to light rail construction, the cost has increased significantly.

Council will revisit Cloud Arch as part of the Town Hall Square project when the light rail is completed and financial conditions are more favourable.

Designed by visionary Japanese artist and architect Junya Ishigami, Cloud Arch is a majestic steel arch that will soar 58 metres above George Street. The work will increase Sydney’s pulling power on the global tourism stage, similar to other major pieces such as Chicago’s Cloud Gate.

When complete, the sculpture will span from the QVB across George Street to the intersection with Park Street. Light rail and pedestrians will move underneath.

“Rather than creating and installing a big statue or monument in a city, I wish to make an artwork that resembles a new landscape emerging in a city centre,” Junya said.

“The arch, although man-made, mimics nature and offers a new type of landscape in the heart of the city.”

Artist impression of Cloud Arch by Junya Ishigami
Artist impression of Cloud Arch by Junya Ishigami

The updated design includes an arch that is almost double in size after a number of technical challenges with the initial design.

Complex technical constraints beneath George Street have altered the location of the footings which required alterations to the artwork’s structure.

The unforeseen constraints related to rail tunnels, retail tunnels, the Cross City Tunnel and major underground services.

Further challenges have arisen due to the light rail construction work and the City’s ability to access the site while construction works take place.

Junya Ishigami on George Street.
Junya Ishigami on George Street.

The loop of the arch has also been enhanced to better frame Sydney Town Hall, the QVB and important monuments and buildings in the city.

The new design and cost of materials include the 140 tonnes of steel for the larger arch and a 43 per cent rise in global steel prices since December 2015. The cost of the project has increased from $3.5 million to $11.3 million.

The City has proposed that the increase in cost could be covered by postponing and using funds set aside for Hany Armanious’ Pavilion artwork and re-allocating savings from the public domain budget. These savings are a result of voluntary planning agreements that the City struck with developers.

Once approved, construction of Cloud Arch is expected to be complete by early 2019.

Published 24 August 2017, updated 10 April 2024