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Sub Base Platypus Torpedo Factory wins Architects Award

The Sub Base Platypus Torpedo Factory has won an award at the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW State Award.

Formerly a torpedo factory, submarine base and gas works, Sub base Platypus is a community recreation and work hub in North Sydney, homeland of the Cammeraygal people.

Photo: Thurston Empson

Offering shaded BBQ facilities and a maritime-themed playground, Oberon Park pays tribute to the Oberon-class submarines based here between 1967 and 1999. Meanwhile, the Torpedo Factory Precinct boasts a spectacular view of Neutral Bay as well as a storytelling space with historical artefacts and a three-piece artwork honouring Country. Other attractions include a sustainable furniture and homewares store, situated on the harbourside promenade, as well as regular guided tours.

Photo: Thurston Empson

The renewal and adaptive reuse of the 1942 built Torpedo Factory opens the building to the community as a new multi-use area with public spaces, terraces and gardens.

Partial demolition of the factory on the harbour foreshore has allowed daylight back to the site and affords space for a future public park on the lower level.

Connection with Country and interpretation of the stories of sea, stone and sky, with the industrial heritage of former uses has created a complex and multilayered experience that adds to public space assets of the community and the visitor experience.

In 2005 the former HMAS Platypus site on the western edge of Neutral Bay was added to the Harbour Trust portfolio to undertake extensive remediation works and to adaptively reimagine the buildings and landscape of the site.

Since 2017 a capital works program has been undertaken to progressively open the site to the public through the creation of new parks, playground, public wharf, foreshore access, stairs, lift and the adaptive reuse of buildings that provide for a mix of
new tenants.

As part of this program the Torpedo Factory has been transformed into a bright and dynamic multifunctional public space that sits like a large pavilion or open veranda on the site. Turf Design Studio worked with Yerrabingin on the landscape and interpretation strategy, working closely with the GMB the project architects.

Photo: Simeon King

The eastern part of the building facing the harbour was removed along with most of the walls to create an open and generous series of spaces that provide for everyday activities, community event mode, and a site car park.

The Factory site sits as the main entrance to the site, with a small plaza leading to a long hall defined by the internal brick blast wall. The retained patinated wall has been used to create a new storytelling space that connects the arrival plaza on High Street to the terrace overlooking Neutral Bay under the steel spans of the factory sawtooth roof.

The new Torpedo Factory Precinct opened in September 2023.

For more information about the site, visit