Zone is rail architecture - with it south and north elevations fronting the Illawarra and East Hills railway lines. Zone is a permeable, shaded, abstract, box-like, with restrained materiality - an example of climatically responsive modernism or ‘Eco-Minimalism’. The site is roughly rectangular with an angled eastern boundary, located on former industrial land at the junction of two railway lines near the recently established Wolli Creek Station. It has district views up the Cooks River to the city, and is adjacent to mangroves, being in the path of the overland water flow which has been trapped by the raised embankments of the railway lines.
The design strategy for Zone was urban salvage and open space definition. The design concept consists of three elements - a podium, a two-storey street wall and a block-edge slab form. The podium provides a raised platform and courtyard for occupation above the flood level; the red-brown coloured street wall anchors the building to the ground and engages with pedestrians; and the floating, white, cloud-like, slab with metal attachments relates the building to the sky and riparian landscape.
Open space and building form are arranged to produce a complementary framework of occupation. The pattern of building and common courtyards can be extended as a concept for the redevelopment of the adjoining industrial lands to the east and west of the site along Lusty Street, effectively completing an urban edge to the mangroves and river.
The 10 storey building is organised around cross-over apartments and gallery access. Dwelling types comprise single level apartment slices accessed from the street and courtyard, single level end apartments and 2 and 3 storey cross-over apartments. Most apartments are orientated to the north to achieve solar access, cross ventilation and induced air-flow. The area of glazing to the north and south elevations has been minimised with infill panels and horizontal slots to reduce noise from adjacent trains. The living areas and bedrooms are glazed in acoustic frames.
The external expression of the building varies from the street to the riverside and dramatises the building’s difference in orientation, apartments planning and aspect. The south elevation is expressed as a series of horizontal bands with street, gallery and terrace access. The north elevation is an environmental crate, or ‘brise-soleil’, an abstract framework which organises balconies and living areas. Fixed aluminium grating, which evokes the industrial character of the area, is used as a sunhood on east and west elevations and to screen views from access galleries, of the nearby Meriton apartments.
Location: 5 Lusty Street, Wolli Creek, Sydney, Australia
Client: Lateral Corporation
Number storeys: 9
Site area: 2,685 sqm
Floor area: 5,370 sqm
Collaborators: Aspect Studios Landscape Architects
Photography: Patrick Bingham-Hall
RAIA Special Jury Award 2002
UDIA Urban Renewal Award 2002