Green Square

Market Insights
9 years ago
3 minutes

A thought-provoking design that “looks forward by revisiting the past” has been selected for a prominent residential site within the $8-Billion Green Square Town Centre. 

Innovative architectural practice, MHN Design Union, reverted to traditional red brick, blue collar values for the 250 apartment, nine-level building at Geddes Avenue, which is part of Bridgehill’s upcoming transformation of the old Waverley Council works depot.  

Eschewing Sydney’s current fixation with amorphous ‘egg-crate’ architecture, the winning entry for the 4,800 square metre former brick manufacturing site was considered to be a design that celebrates its links with the past.

The competition was held under the auspices of the City of Sydney’s Design Excellence process and its jury comprised Yibin Xu (Managing Director of Bridgehill), Michael Harrison (Director of Architectus) and Darlene van der Breggen (NSW Public Works). 

The jury was impressed by MHNDU’s contemporary interpretation of the site’s industrial history, which included vertical masonry columns replicating the look of the old chimney stacks. Cleverly, the columns also serve a practical purpose of concealing the building’s mechanical services as well as forming a protected colonnade along Geddes Avenue, which will become an integral thoroughfare in the City of Sydney’s vision for an exciting new neighbourhood.

A director of MHNDU, Brian Meyerson, said the understated design will provide lasting quality and an aspirational future for young apartment buyers.

“We broke the design mould of tight, repetitive grids by creating an emotional and evocative link to the solid, red brick buildings of yesteryear which every Sydneysider can relate to,” he said.

“The robust, traditional materials we’ve selected will endure, much like the inter-war warehouses that gave the neighbourhood its character. 

“We felt that the client, Bridgehill, may have been searching for something more meaningful than the typical apartment offering these days, which is commonly designed with rendered walls and random splashes of colour. Frankly, you can see these type of designs in every Sydney suburb. 

“Fortunately for us the jury recognised the importance of architectural diversity and maintaining some link with the area’s industrial heritage. 

“If each building in Green Square were to scream too loudly there is a danger it would resemble an architectural Disneyland,” Mr Meyerson said.

Fellow MHNDU director, Michael Hay, said the façade of the building is broken into strong vertical masonry elements with deep recesses that allow light and ventilation to penetrate into the apartments, corridors and lobbies.

“The design of the interiors, by MHN Design Union’s Jo Lawless, builds further on this architectural approach and takes its inspiration from the area’s industrial past with sliding metal screens, polished concrete floors, exposed timber and brickwork,” Mr Hay said.

Among the other design initiatives are:

  • A community garden on the roof for the cultivation of vegetables, herbs and flowers, plus a central landscaped area for passive recreational use.
  • Two publicly-accessible landscaped pedestrian links through the site.
  • A series of enclosed and semi-enclosed communal ‘cubes’ on the rooftop, protected from the wind, including an acoustically insulated music room.
  • Underground connection with nearby sites. This is a City of Sydney initiative to reduce the interruption of building frontages for service and vehicular access. Hence it provides pedestrian friendly streetscapes and environments in Green Square.
  • Two levels of basement parking for more than 200 vehicles, and
  • Visitor parking to be created under new roadways.

Bridgehill, which has several other sites in the Green Square precinct, is expected to lodge the DA for the eagerly-anticipated project in the coming months.