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Smart Design Studio, Surry Hills, Australia

Wednesday 09 Mar 2011

Pacific Sixteen beachside apartments

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Award Entry

Smart planning maximises the opportunities of a challenging site 

The challenge of this site was how to make the best of a spectacular aspect and view while creating a private and liveable apartment building. The parcel of land runs north-south with views to the north and east up to the neighbouring over-scaled apartment building.

A simple and strong diagram was developed, comprising three components: a large dark-grey block, predominantly containing building utilities, which forms the building’s visual foundation; a series of three-storey high, light-coloured cantilevered blades that splay towards the north-east, allowing each bedroom and living area to have a view of the water while maintaining a sense of privacy from the neighbouring building, and an excavated, retained and planted ground plane, which will develop into a lush, green garden setting with tall ivy-covered walls.

The details and materials used were selected to reinforce the clarity of this diagram and withstand the pressures of time in a corrosive environment. Durable finishes that did not require painting were used, such as low-profile concrete blocks (hand-cut from concrete pavers), and natural stone pavers and cladding where the building connects to the ground.

The interiors have been reduced to the same level of simplicity as the overall form. The building’s utilities such as bathrooms, laundry, elevator and fire stair are grouped together to form a simple core, allowing each of the rooms with a splayed wall to line up in a row. These rooms are configured differently on each floor to allow the top two apartments to be split over three floors and the lower floors to engage with the excavated ground plane. While the materials are modest, the details are impeccable. This provides for another level of interest for those who look beyond the uncompromising form.

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Smart Design Studio

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