In 1994, 152 homes covering 4.5 hectares of land in Sydney’s inner west were acquired and demolished by the Commonwealth Government. In their place, a public park – Sydenham Green – was established.
Set directly under the flight path of Sydney Airport’s third runway, and located in a mixed residential and industrial area, Sydenham Green was recognised as a generally dreary place, thanks to a lack of shade and the noise generated by low flying crafts. Rather than adopting an out of sight, out of mind approach, the former Marrickville Council (now known as the Inner West Council) consulted with the local community to develop a masterplan for the park. That was in 2013.
Four years later, the same park once deemed unihabitable has been chosen by Council to pilot its New Public Toilet Strategy. Sydenham Green Amenities, designed by Sam Crawford Architects, is intended “as an exemplary precedent for future public toilet projects, aimed at maximising public safety and civic pride, and minimising vandalism of an oft-benighted building type”.
Resembling a fallen section of fuselage, the building’s distinct lines and angular, even slightly crumpled form, reference the planes passing overhead at three minute intervals. Its materiality takes cues from the surrounding urban fabric and brief requirements for durability and resistance to damage.
The rough textured bricks, compressed fibre cement and steel are all painted in one shade of white, allowing the different textures to overlap while generating a play of shadow and light. The solidity of the masonry is contrasted against the transparent, discordant rhythm of the steel security gates.
The structure, featuring three separate cubicles, is connected to its surrounding environment via a washbasin area, set in an open air yet covered space. According to the design team, this connection provides ample surveillance and point of orientation in the somewhat unforgiving urban landscape – a mix of empty lots and dilapidated buildings slated for renewal in the near future.
On the sustainability front, a large underground rainwater tank directs collected water for reuse through the cisterns and watering of external vegetation. Natural sunlight and ventilation, accessed via light tunnels over each cubicle, coupled with motion activated sensors, forms the project’s passive design and lighting strategy.
COMPRESSED FIBRE CEMENT
JAMES HARDIE WALL & FLOOR PRODUCTS, EXO-TEC PANELS
LYSAGHT SPANDEK, COLORBOND WINDSPRAY
CSR BRADFORD, ENVIRONSEAL PROCTOR WRAP HIGH TENSILE ROOF
HOT DIP GAL. WITH STEEL PROTECTIVE PAINT SYSTEM
CUSTOM FOLDED METAL GUTTER, BMT 0.48MM, COLORBOND WINDSPRAY
BLUE MOUNTAIN MESH, COLORBOND WINDSPRAY
AUSTRAL BRICKS, KING (BRICK COLOUR)
BRICK MOWING STRIP
AUSTRAL BRICKS, HAMLET ASH
CORA BIKE RACK WITH HOT DIPPED GALVANIZED FINISH
AUSTRALIAN NATIVE LANDSCAPES
LEDA, ELECTRO POLISHED
INTERIOR FINISHES & FIXTURES
FIBONACCI STONE, TERRAZZO TILE WITH ANTI GRAFFITI SEALER
LATICRETE, LATAPOXY SP-100
AMBER TILES, WHITE GLOSS
POLYBLEND, COLOURED TILE GROUT
BRITEX, S.S. CENTURION AMBULANT TOILET PAN, INWALL DUAL FLUSH CISTERN, DISABLED HAND BASIN, FLUSH MOUNT WRAP AROUND GRAB RAIL, 90 DEGREE AMBULANT GRAB RAIL, ADJUSTABLE VANDAL RESISTANT DROP DOWN BACK REST
TUFF STUFF WASHROOMS – DOUBLE TOILET ROLL HOLDER
BABY CHANGE TABLE
BRITEXT SURFACE MOUNTED BABY CHANGING STATION
BRITEX, TIMED FLOW LEVER PILLAR TAP IN CHROME
ENWARE AUSTRALIA, TIMED FLOW PILLAR TAP IN CHROME, KEY OPERATED HOSE TAP
BRITEX, SMIR SECURITY STAINLESS STEEL MIRROR WITH CONCEALED FIXINGS
BRITEX, WALL MOUNTED STAINLESS STEEL ECO HAND DRYER
METLAM AUSTRALIA, WALL MOUNTED SATIN STAINLESS STEEL
DORMA, FLOOR MOUNTED SATIN STAINLESS STEEL
BRAILLE TACTILE SIGNS AUSTRALIA