Towering 20-storey student housing block unveiled by AJ+C for Darling Harbour
Allen Jack+Cottier has completed DA design for a 20-storey, 635-bed student housing tower for Urbanest at the southern gateway to the new Sydney International Convention, Exhibition, and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) in Darling Harbour and The Haymarket.
With Lend Lease, architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Denton Corker Marshall and Hassell, AJ+C was part of the successful Darling Harbour Live bid for the precinct in late 2012. This will involve renewal of the exhibition, convention and entertainment centres at Darling Harbour as well as construction of a new residential, commercial and cultural precinct in The Haymarket, where the Entertainment Centre and a car park currently stand.
AJ+C's role includes the design of two multi-storey buildings containing just over 1,000 student accommodation beds. The first stage of this accommodation has just been submitted for State Significant DA, and is expected to open in early 2016.
"Well designed student accommodation is, in our view, the key to a vibrant, living student community," said Michael Heenan, AJ+C CEO, Principal, who lead the design team. "Of course, it is a combination of factors - the educational institution and its philosophy, the students, building management and the local environment - that together make a great community for students.
"We have designed living spaces for over 6,000 tertiary students in the past few years, and in our experience the defining factor is carefully considered design: how the building functions, how well it works, and how it relates to its surroundings - that makes REAL communities."
The tower has two distinct aspects, reflecting its position on the edge of the new Precinct:
- The eastern side, facing the Precinct, is related to the ‘family’ of towers planned for this area through their similar height, proportions and the use of similar materials and patterns on the eastern façade. This façade uses an overlaid grid with faceted infill panels of metal and glazing to create a light, shimmering effect alluding to sunlight dancing on the Harbour.
- The western side, facing the Powerhouse Museum and Ultimo, is inspired by the robust masonry nature of the Powerhouse Museum and warehouses in Ultimo and forms a strong edge to the Precinct. This façade is expressed as a solid wall coloured, textured and panelised to reference brickwork, with deep set, punched openings.
The common spaces are located on the lower floors along the Darling Drive frontage behind full height panelised glazing, set behind a colonnade of double height columns supporting the residential floors above. This creates a legible ‘street wall’ and clearly denotes the common floors as distinct from the residential floors above, provides protection for the building entries and contributes to an active and inviting streetscape.