Adding yet another burst of visual variety to the Surry Hills neighbourhood in Sydney, this highly distinctive new apartment building of geometrically complex and diverse facades, paradoxically, harmonises perfectly into its surroundings.
Modify a previously approved development plan for a five-storey mixed-use apartment building, with a ground floor reserved for retail and commercial activities that will be constructed on a rectangular lot.
Choose design features to complement the architectural style of the adjacent ‘Readers Digest’ building, and create a structure that is designed and sited to fully exploit available natural light while facilitating easy air flow and cross-ventilation.
Perpendicular facades facing both Waterloo and Adelaide Streets should be included in the project, which will automatically create a rectangular courtyard open to all on the interior of the building site.
The ground floor level of the development consists of commercial and retail tenancies addressing both Waterloo and Adelaide streets whilst also opening onto an external courtyard space to the south.
Key formal contributors to the project’s architectural expression are both its site specificity as well as its programme. The context for the project is a dense inner city urban environ ranging from 2-3 storey Victorian terrace housing through to multi storey commercial buildings.
Occupying a corner block amidst the shady streets of Surry Hills, this building is a solid form eroded by shadow. Shadow splits the façade into sharp blades, deep clefts and stepped fasciae. Shadow is diffused by battened timber screens and, is cast in lacework patterns by a stand of mature Melaleucas, which filter northern sunshine. This play of light and shade mediates between the interior world of private residences and the public realm.
The ground floor level of the development allows street activation to both Waterloo and Adelaide Streets. The building form on the ground level is articulated in such a way as to afford the retail spaces a number of external sun lit seating areas contained within the property’s boundaries whilst also allowing these spaces to be well connected to the bustling streetscape environs.
Contributing elements from the site that influenced the architectural expression included the northern tree lined street scape and the close proximity of neighbouring residences.
The external expression is also significantly driven by the formal issues of a dual frontage site. The building makes both a specific and distinct gesture to each street individually whilst also seeking to unite these in a singular architectural form. The project includes a number of sustainable building practices such as cross ventilation, natural and low maintenance materials and finishes, good solar access as well as the use of materials with high thermal mass.
Key formal contributors to the project’s architectural expression are both its site specificity as well as its programme. Of particular importance to the design was the consideration of the architecturally significant ‘Reader’s Digest’ building located directly opposite the site to the north and the incorporation of the mature stand of Melaleucas to provide an important filtering element.
The location of private balconies for the apartments on the building’s street façades and the use of unifying elements such as timber batten screens and off-form concrete projections provides for an interplay across the facades of shadow and light.
Apart from a sympathetic bulk and scale relationship, the design also relates to its landmark neighbour through subtle cues in colour, material and the composition of detailed façade elements. The location of balconies facing the street and the rhythm of elements such as timber batten screens and off-form concrete projections provide the façade with an interplay of shadow and light.
We insisted that proper concrete does not have chamfered corners. The Australian Standard that calls for this does so in order to avoid the poorest of qualities and does not enable or facilitate the best of this trade.
The Builder agreed to have square corners at the street facades and this added a significant quality to the building. The Builder also refused to build the black bricks with 20mm jointing like Lewerentz’s Chapel as earlier specified. We all agreed that we could control the cream-coloured bricks in a simpler way. We therefore worked together to change the building’s design in a fluid process and to suit our aspirations and capacities; in this way we desired to make it a thing that would be memorable through its craft and the love in its making.
- RAIA Frederick Romberg National Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing 2011
- RAIA Aaron Bolot Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing 2011
TRINITY WINDOW SYSTEMS, SLIDING BI-FOLD WITH SWINGING LOUVRES
TRINITY WINDOW SYSTEMS, ALUMINIUM WINDOWS AND LOUVRES
AUSTRAL BRICKS, BOWRAL DRY PRESS BRICKS
BORAL BRICKS, DESIGNER BLOCK
PRE-FABRICATED FORMWORK WALLING SYSTEM
OFF-FORM CLASS 2 CONCRETE
PRECAST CONCRETE PANELLING (CLASS 2)
ROUGH CAST RENDERED BLOCKWORK
ASG SAFETY GLASS
VIRIDIAN NEW WORLD GLASS
ALUMINIUM FRAMED INFILL
WESTERN RED CEDAR
SELECT AUSTRALIAN HARDWOODS
CAVALIER BREMWORTH LTD,
AMERICAN OAK ENGINEERED TIMBER FLOOR
TILES - CERAMIC AND STONE
DULUX, FLUSH SET PLASTERBOARD - ACRYLIC PAINT FINISH
OVEN, COOKTOP, DISHWASHER, RANGEHOOD
FISHER & PAYKEL APPLIANCES
FISHER & PAYKEL APPLIANCES