Thomas Street Cloud Gate

Hill Thalis - Lindy Lee - Jane Irwin - Cloud Gate - Chinatown - Perspective image Hill Thalis - Lindy Lee - Jane Irwin - Cloud Gate - Chinatown - Plan view Hill Thalis - Lindy Lee - Jane Irwin - Cloud Gate - Chinatown - Section Hill Thalis - Lindy Lee - Jane Irwin - Cloud Gate - Chinatown - Elevation

The Cloud Gate is part of an ambitious City of Sydney project for Thomas Street to recognise past and present cultural identity of Haymarket through architecture, place design and public art. It does this while maintaining the teeming, informal and open street life that makes Chinatown such a lively and cherished urban place.

In ancient Chinese philosophy, water has enormous symbolic value as it has three states – solid, liquid and vapour. Clouds are the vapour aspect of water and are revered because they embody change, transience and impermanence.

The Cloud Gate site, at the northern end of Thomas Street, was previously a harbour edge. As reclaimed land the site has a calm, almost horizontal condition. The expressive corner treatments of Sydney Markets, Market Stores and The Coffee Palace were all part of an ambitious Sydney Council from 1908, by City Architect Broderick – and they physically define the site. The Cloud Gate will contain the space of the north end of Thomas Street and maintain axial view lines along the street to the anchoring buildings at each end:

The positioning of the muscular support columns reinforces the street geometry;

The columns respect the rhythm of openings of the markets building;

Catenary cables and fixings act as a background to the “floating” cloud discs;

Paired layers of domed perforated discs filter sunlight during the day and gently reflect light at night;

The play of sunlight will have a rich variability, changing through out the day and seasons.

We have enjoyed working with Jane Irwin Landscape Architecture, and Lindy Lee, Artist, on this very exciting project, due for completion in early 2016.


Lead Consultant JILA
Artist – Lindy Lee
Structural Engineering – SDA Structures
Lighting – Lighting Art and Science

Hill Thalis Team

Philip Thalis, Sheila Tawalo, Aaron Murray, Jonathan Kibble, Alexander Rink, Jacqueline Lindeman


© Drawings – Hill Thalis Architects

Thomas Street Cloud Gate