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The architects behind The New Heart of Ryde

Published on 15 July 2019

We took to the roof of the old Ryde Civic Centre with the Mayor, Clr Jerome Laxale, and The New Heart of Ryde architects, Plus Architecture.

Rido Pin and Gabriel Duque from Plus Architecture spoke to us about the project and what it means to them. Founded in 1997, Plus Architecture is an award-winning integrated architecture, master planning and interior design firm with offices across Australia and New Zealand. Plus Architecture is recognised for its design ethos and ability to deliver projects in a diverse spectrum of scale and typology. 

What do you see as the key drivers behind The New Heart of Ryde project?

Rido: Our design process has been based on strong urban design principles following our analysis of the site. Understanding the impact of scale, proportions and height in relation to the immediate context was essential to come to a design solution which meets the objectives of Council, creating a place for the community. More than anything the design is driven by connectivity to the context and its community. The project will bring people together in this unique community precinct. The proposed central plaza and public domain is very important, and how it will interact with the foyer areas of the community and civic building. We see a dynamic, lively and inspiring range of spaces filled with people enjoying the landscape, art and activity that brings the community together.

Transparency is at the heart of the design concept. Council staff are a part of the City of Ryde community, and at both a metaphorical and practical level, The New Heart of Ryde will be a place of openness, inclusion and connection, where you'll be able to see the plaza from many angles and Council at work - serving its community in a very visual way.

How are you approaching the design?

Rido: Through our investigations of the site we have been able to achieve a clear and balanced outcome of form, scale, connectivity and environmental considerations in relation to the context which creates a great outcome for the community. We see it as an exemplary project in terms of efficiency and sustainability, with the ability to collect and reuse water, minimizes waste and carefully considers energy use. The materials should be durable to ensure this civic and community hub remains an iconic building for years to come. 

What do you think the benefits are of the Ryde Civic Centre site?

Gabriel: Standing up on the rooftop of the old Civic Centre today, it's evident that the expansive views that the site offers should be embraced. Located at the top of a hill, the site is a place where people will gravitate to and this needs to be amplified in the design. Success in terms of design is not limited to the building itself, but rather how people interact with the space surrounding the building. It should be a place people want to casually come together.

What led you to undertaking this project?

Rido: We both have a strong understanding of the urban story having worked on a diverse range of projects. Our projects help to shape our cities with a strong focus on the public benefits and incorporate community buildings and spaces. Plus Architecture designed a community centre and library in Christchurch, New Zealand, following the devastating earthquake there. We wanted to acknowledge the past while building a new space for the future, and used recycled bricks that came from the rubble in the construction of the new building.

Gabriel: I have been working in Australia in the architecture field for more than 15 years and feel that The New Heart of Ryde offers a unique opportunity to implement lessons we've learned and create something special for the City of Ryde community. 

To find out more about The New Heart of Ryde project, including the history, answers to frequently asked questions and more, visit



Last updated on 15 July 2019