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contributed by 323 World Architecture Festival , 17 June 2009


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Description Pindari:

In the Sydney suburbs, horizontal building forms might be seen to deal with the lateral landscape. The subject work was constructed on a ‘brown-field’ site upon which previously sat a single house. This site is at Randwick, an inner-city suburb of Sydney. On it, some 68 trees, native and imported, existed. The project is being developed in three stages with the first stage presented here.

A strata-series of horizontal layers of space is presented so that the building has a receding base, a proud centre and a light roof form. Thickness is manifest in the centre and density is considered in the materials of earthen render and timber coupled with sandstone of the region.

Surface is therefore embodied within the sense of protection in substance and the now- familiar Sydney ethos of ‘view’ is ignored and a new consideration of ‘landscape’ is yielded by the development There is a particular atmosphere which emerges to present its own light by way of reflection of light into the garden areas. That light which is reflected is in turn, its own light exuded.

And so the plans circulate around the garden both facing the garden and yielding its uses from the garden. An open corridor links people with the elements before they enter their rooms. A sculptural fire-stair deals with the about-face elegantly.

Each peripheral room enjoys the benefit of a verandah which provides direct engagement with the landscape. There is a vertical hierarchy in the elevations where each elevation is differentiated through its vertical disposition; the highest of the elevations embodies a cross section with a shelf at ceiling height to reflect the light.

The building’s structure combines a sense of light with form in concrete that is exposed such that it can deliver privacy to the inhabitants whilst also developing a sense of gravity and weight reliably. The concrete forms an expression which highlights in a visible manner the making of the building; in this sense, the structure integrates with a plastic envelope which affords the space for infill portions articulated in horizontal compositions.

Composition is manifest in a paneled and controlled format such that the work is grounded in a simple manner; the materials of which form are elevated in their importance by virtue of the simplicity of composition expressing those materials at the public domain only. Light and Shade sometimes provides, what we understand in art as “chiaroscuro” and the development gains much from the play of shadows in form and matter.

All the apartments benefit from the air movement of cross-ventilation and the buildings enjoy eaves that prohibit the entry of harsh sunlight in summer and allow the sun’s entry in winter.

In walking around the site, the movement is enjoyed by vistas within dapple light the shadows ameliorated by light reflected off light (and light absorbent) surfaces which are absorbed by the density of the materials from which this building is made.

Photograph by: Richard Glover


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Information Pindari:

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Randwick, Australia

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