A little over a century ago you could have stood on this triangular site in Sydney’s CBD and heard live executions taking place across the road at Darlinghurst Gaol. Fast forward 100 years and from that same point your view is from a contemporary apartment building and out over a modern precinct.

Henry Lawson, arguably Australia’s greatest-ever writer, expressed his own distaste for the neighbourhood back in the early 1900s, but even he might have changed his tune if he’d seen this part of Darlinghurst today.

For starters, the Gaol, where Lawson actually spent some time, is long-gone and, perhaps ironically, home to Australia’s National Art School. More recently the surrounding streets have seen a wave of new developments, bolstered by a massive 100-plus apartment project on a 4,537sqm triangular site bordered by Burton, Forbes and Bourke streets.

Designed by Group GSA, ‘Dominion’ comprises 109 one-, two-, and three- bedroom residences across two heritage listed buildings and three new buildings. It provides a varied mixture of dwelling types, from multi-storey apartments to garden units and a sandstone cottage.

Caritas House and the Gatekeeper’s Cottage, both over 100 years old, were refurbished as part of the project and also partly informed the material palette of the three contemporary building additions.


The Sydney sandstone blockwork on the historical buildings and the adjacent Darlinghurst Gaol building are replicated on the podiums for the new buildings, while salvaged timber flooring from Caritas House was used as a wall feature in the lobbies of the new buildings.

The most conspicuously modern addition at Dominon is the four storey mass, made up of three gridded steel boxes with louvres, that sits on top of the new sandstone podium and around two of the three borders of the triangular site.

The three new buildings are joined by bridges and all spill over into the central courtyard that provides security and privacy for Dominion residents.

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Group GSA says that although the one-bedroom apartments are only single aspect, their deep balconies - a spacious 3x3 metres - and window orientation means that their cross ventilation ratings were very high.

Coincidently, these balconies are roughly the same size as the Darlinghurst Gaol cell Lawson spent time in way back in 1905. If only his room had been fit with operable louvres and as breezy as those at Dominion, maybe then he would have been less lamenting of his time spent in Darlinghurst.


JWI Louvres, 320x90mm Aluminium PFC- in Dulux Lunar Eclipse Satin

JWI Louvres, 300 EO Manual  Motorised Operation in Interpon D2015-External Silver Satin-YW100C

JWI Louvres, 80.R Motorised Blades in JWI Pewter

YAP Engineering

Sarkis Bros, Mount White Medium Brown Smooth Lazer Cut 900 X 450mm (40mm thick)

Pacific Steel framing
Vitabond, Aluminium Cladding-Black MJ062 (G30)
150 MM Aluminium PFC Edge in Dulux Duratec Lunar Eclipse Satin 87734

Micos Group

Vitrabond, Black 130, Woodland Greay & Quartz Grey