Woods Bagot Design Team: Domenic Alvaro, Simon Lee, Amy Lee
Text description provided by the architects. The design proposes a unique mixture of 22 apartments which appeal to the dramatic surrounding lifestyle of Surry Hills on top of a new fine grain retail component on the ground floor that activates the street frontage, existing lanes by introducing a new ‘Short Lane’ that joins both.
Within the locality heritage items have been identified and carefully taken into consideration during the design process. The height, scale, materiality and architectural expression are designed to complement the adjoining 8 storey, board-formed concrete, Wesley Mission building and the neighbouring 1847 Methodist Church façade and hall.
The beautifully crafted Beresford Hotel and its courtyard opens towards the existing lane and rear lane retail and entry, and an adapted old Terrace which has been converted to a small food precinct forms part of the site. The terrace featured a graffiti art work which was restored by the original artist and forms part of the new lane entry experience.
The retail spaces are articulated as a series of metal clad framed window bays within a larger framed form. This play with scale allows the double height retail spaces to mediate with the finer grain of the associated terraces and smaller scale commercial buildings at street level enabling a diversity of offers from wellness to quality food.
The varying scale of the retail facades provide the visual framework to accommodate a variety of different internal tenancy divisions without compromising the character of the design or the context. The deep reveal ensures internal tenancy design doesn’t privatise the public domain or reduce the visual weight of the pedestrian scaled façade. This is further articulated with vertical infill elements consisting of glass window, operable screens and ribbed aluminium panels between concrete terraces.
The residential levels above are expressed as a series of horizontal concrete landscaped terraces which stagger across the building elevation with shooting Cilandra and Periwinkle dripping planting create private botanical spaces for the residents. The staggering forms create a natural screen between apartments and justifies a “living building” to the street frontage.
Inside, understated interiors create a sophisticated urban retreat. Exposed concrete ceilings are balanced by the earthy warmth of oak floors. Short Lane proposes an exemplar for low scale, mixed use city living, seeking to integrate nature within a harsh urban environment.
Sustainability: The project adopts good passive environmental design solutions and appropriate use of materials to provide a simple yet effective response to the environmental requirements. A balance of solidity for good thermal performance and glazing for natural daylight is inherent to all facades whilst deep balcony reveals and operable screening provide passive shading and privacy where appropriate.
Operable windows are provided to all rooms including bathrooms which are located along the facade. The communal areas of each apartment including the living, dining and kitchen areas all have good cross ventilation with operable windows at either end of the space. Each living area also has full height sliding glass doors to an outdoor area.
Substantial landscaping has been included on all levels of the development providing deep soil zones for large vegetation and smaller scale planting areas. The landscape is appropriate to the locality and has been designed to meet minimal water requirements.
On-site car parking is not provided due to the inner city location, with good access to public transport and direct access to the inner city bike lanes.