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American Express House is an office building completed in late 2007. This 15,000 square meter, 11 level tower is  located within the western corridor precinct of the Sydney CBD with frontage on Shelley Street. The tower has been designed in a response to a particular need to control light reflectivity on the adjacent Western Distributor, one of Sydney’s primary arteries. Nick Tyrrell, Director at Cox Richardson, who worked in a joint venture with Crone Partners on the Amex project, said

“At that speed the relative positions and angles of the distributor and the building result in a potentially serious reflectivity issue for northbound traffic as late morning sunlight is reflected into the drivers’ eyes. In response we supported vertical blades off the eastern facade to mitigate reflection, with deeper blades where there is a greater reflectivity.”

Cox Architects- Photography: Brett Boardman

The vertical patterning, layering and graded color saturation of the external solar screens are devised to preclude glare from the curving freeway, resulting also in a dramatic experience driving along the city edge. The vertical louvres rotate from morning to afternoon varying the experience and climate control along the façade. At ground level, the building is permeated by colonnades and arcades, with connections made to a retail plaza beneath the freeway and through the Wynward Railway Station. Water elements counteract the harshness of the freeway context and mitigate traffic noise.

Tyrrell said, “ESD initiatives in the scheme include fixed and operable external sun shading devices on the northern and western facades. These are targeted to the relatively small areas receiving major heat loads after allowance for the overshadowing effect of adjacent buildings. In combination with high efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, the building is designed to achieve a 4.5 Star Nabers Rating.”


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