This hybrid project is an exploration of formMATRIX to create diversity of living environments within clearly delineated monumental building forms. It explores the theme of diversity, and whether interior complexity should be revealed on the exterior. The project grafts together two contrasting types - the finger pavilion and street wall. The complexity of the interior is deliberately disguised by the restrained exterior. The submission focuses on the potential of the monumental wall element, which adopts a design strategy of reduction rather than addition. The project revives the unresolved modernist theme of a ‘machine of living’.
The site is on the foreshore of Homebush Bay, adjacent to the Sydney Olympic site. The architectural concept heightens the relationship between the future urban form and existing natural setting, between the urban street of Shoreline Drive and the water and mangroves of Homebush Bay. It responds to a certain urban situation with its slightly curving street, views and mangrove setting. The design approach is both abstract and site responsive.
The project juxtaposes two built form types: the solid urban street wall and lighter, finger pavilions to the foreshore. The end finger forms interact with the street wall to produce highly modelled corner portals that create a sense of visual permeability from the street to the foreshore. The contrast of solid and lighter building forms accentuates the difference between the street and landscape setting. formMATRIX is a field of occupation in which vertical and horizontal connected living spaces are created through precise additions and subtractions. The living units are interlocked like so many pieces of a three dimensional puzzle to form the whole. The exterior spaces are recessed loggias carved into the dense fabric.
Like Olympic diving the planning requires precision, concentration and control. This organization creates unexpected diversity and complexity. The complex internal organization of the snake-like wall element rejects the ‘pancake’ approach to unit planning that leads to repetitive and stacked living plates. The living units of the street wall are organised around formMATRIX that creates diversity of space and environmental response. They are organised as a patchwork of one and two storey types, with studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units. The units are grouped within a module which is replicated within the form and developed around a radical triple, ‘cross-over’ organization – section, plan and elevation. Several of the units have a second level, either above or below, that does not extend over the same space as the main area.
The appearance of the building, both wall and finger pavilions, avoids the overused expression of cellular, crate-like elements and proposes a fresh, modern aesthetic based on vertical and horizontal openings that express the varying light, sun and view around the site. The elevation is slotted or gridded to create a permeable surface for the movement of air, light and temperature. The building expression avoids the customary ‘fruit salad’ bowl approach of higher density housing where exteriors are overworked, creating repellent, anti-urban objects.
Location: Shoreline Drive, Rhodes, Sydney, Australia
Client: Walker Corporation
Number storeys: 4-6
Site area: 6,467 sqm
Floor area: 11,850 sqm
Collaborators: Aspect Studios Landscape Architects
Stanisic Architects (Christian Bruna)
Lucid Metal (Kane Sullivan)