3XN unveils revised design for sydney's giant new fish market

3XN unveils revised design for sydney's giant new fish market

3XN has released plans for the new sydney fish market — a project the firm was commissioned to build in 2017. the building, which has been designed as a landmark structure for the australian city, will operate as a working market while simultaneously establishing a public connection to the water’s edge at blackwattle bay, an area set to undergo ambitious renovation plans.


UPDATE: this project was shortlisted in the ‘culture – future project’ category at the 2018 world architecture festival.

3xn sydney fish market
the new fish market will be located the head of blackwattle bay
image by 3XN | video by by cadpeople and 3XN



3XN — who worked on the project alongside local architect BVN, GXN innovation, and landscape architect aspect studios — approached the brief with the goal of creating more than just a fish market. ‘this building will be many things when it is done: a working fish market, an amenity for the city, a cultural destination, an urban connector, and an inspiring icon along the world-renowned sydney harbour,’ explains kim herforth nielsen, founding partner of 3XN.

3xn sydney fish market
amphitheater staircases and the foreshore promenade wrap over the operational wharf
image by 3XN



the project will relocate the existing fish market to a 3.6-hectare site at the head of blackwattle bay. the design capitalizes on the opportunity to link the bay with the significant green space of wentworth park to the south, as well as the broader cityscape. inspired by the traditional market typology, the scheme preserves the intimacy and flexibility of open-air stalls united under a single sweeping canopy.

3xn sydney fish market
the timber and aluminum roof harvests rainwater for reuse
image by mir



throughout the design, the architects have sought to maintain a visual connection between the public areas and wholesale or wharf operations. the ground floor hosts functions traditionally associated with fish markets: the landing and loading of fish, the wholesale market, and the auction hall. meanwhile, amphitheater staircases and the foreshore promenade wrap over the operational wharf, allowing visitors to safely see what is going on inside.

3xn sydney fish market
the staircase leads to the publicly accessible upper level
image by aesthetica studio



the amphitheater staircases that lead from the plazas to the public market are a continuation of the surrounding landscape, establishing a foreshore promenade around the bay and opening a new public route along the water’s edge. plazas at each end of the fish market not only allow for informal gatherings, but also house wetland flora to filter both storm- and grey-water from the building.

3xn sydney fish market
the fish market will also serve as a vibrant cultural destination
image by 3XN



‘environmental and social sustainability are essential and inseparable parts of the design,’ kim herforth nielsen continues. ‘the roof, landscaped forms, open atmosphere, plantings and materials that characterize the experience of the design are examples of this union. throughout the course of the new market’s concept and design development; public amenity and environmental sustainability have formed the core of our decision-making processes.’

visual connections are maintained between public areas and wholesale or wharf operations
image by doug and wolf



the timber and aluminum roof is another key component of the project. it harvests rainwater for reuse, protects the retail spaces from the sun, and filters daylight for operations below. meanwhile, its distinctive shape is not only a result of the program below, but it also uses prevailing winds to extract hot air and protects the sellers from southerly winds. the new building will break ground in mid-2019 and, subject to all necessary approvals, is expected to open in 2023.

3xn sydney fish market
the new building will break ground in mid-2019 and is expected to open in 2023
image by mir

  • The old fish markets had seats and tables along the water that allowed visitors to sit and enjoy whatever food/drink and so on the had brought. These have vanished and their loss will diminish the enjoyment that ordinary visitors and locals had from visiting the markets. I shall miss my half hour of peace there and the links one could make to other locals and Sydneysiders

    Ungar sybil says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,528 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample