Imperial Central is a hybrid form that is a fusion of three form types: the urban street wall; slab; and towers. This hybrid form is cut with a slot into two roughly equal parts and perforated with recesses to break down its visual bulk and mass. Connecting bridges between the two towers are evident in the slot that prviews out, along the visual axis and are part of the ‘social network’ for residents. The recesses in the north and east facades of the building mediate between the scale of the slab form and the adjoining context while retaining the urban scale of the building in the Hurstville City Centre. Imperial presents as two interlinked towers to decrease its mass and bulk and to optimise the perimeter for light and ventilation.
The iconic appearance of Imperial arises from its unique split form, punctuated by sky gardens, and metallic facades. The building is an icon, not just for Hurstville, but for Sydney and Australia. It is the next step in the evolution of the apartment tower. The building appearance primarily emphasises the site’s dual orientation: to the sunny north over the Hurstville City Centre and the cooler south over Kogarah. The northern street elevation to Treacy Street is fitted with a metal ‘jacket’ that is placed over balconies. The ‘jacket’ is a second skin, an environmental filter that screens the living areas and bedrooms from the hot sun in summer and reduces heat loss in winter. The south elevation to the Illawarra railway corridor is a ‘glass screen’ with wintergardens enclosed by operable glass panels that reduce noise and heat loss in winter.
The metal ‘jacket’ has a prefinished, bronze colour. The side walls of the main slot and sky garden recesses are emphasised with a burnt yellow that reflect the golden colours of the sun. The glass to the south is clear or translucent, with fritting for privacy and light control, double glazed where required. The southern elevation is clad with silver-finished, metal panels and bronze-finished screens and framing. The finishes have a precious metal theme comprising bronze and silver.
The slender building form of Imperial is aligned to Treacy Street, setting back at street level to create a generous pedestrian retail terrace. The ground level is activated with apartment lobbies, shops and community room. Above the street the built form is bisected with a slot and punctuated with carefully-placed surface recesses to reduce its visual bulk; and respond to the scale of the existing and future context. The building slot is aligned with the visual axis of Alfred and Bellevue Streets, visually connecting Hurstville and Kogarah, the two side sides of the rail corridor. The apartments have district views over Hurstville, water views to Botany Bay and panoramic views to the city skyline.
Imperial has many external green spaces: a podium courtyard, sky gardens and roof terrace. The main podium communal courtyard functions as space of conversation and meetings for residents and contains planting, seating, gravel pathways and a water element. The sky gardens are ‘green roofs’ with succulents and provide a social network of breakout spaces over the building. The roof garden, located in the slot between the tower forms, is a communal meeting space with views to the north and south.
There are many apartment types and layouts – compact and generous, wintergarden, cross-over and single level suited to a variety of lifestyles, most with media alcoves or studies. Living rooms have 2700mm high ceilings. The fitout of the apartments has been designed to be well above the standard of the Hurstville area – with warm, neutral colour palettes, inspired by the tones of nature. Most kitchens have island benches with stone benchtops. They are equipped with AEG appliances and wide fridge spaces. Bathrooms are fitted with LED lighting, stone benchtops and tiled splashbacks, and abundant storage space in ‘low hanging’ vanities.
The three entry lobbies have bronze batten walls, natural stone flooring and crystal-like, pendant lights.
Type: Hybrid/ Live/ Work
Location: 23-31 Treacy Street, Hurstville, Sydney, Australia
Year: 2010 - 2019
Builder: Alliance Project Group
Area: 23,191 sqm, (1,568sqm retail/ community)
Photography: Brett Boardman
AIA, Architecture Award, Multiple Housing, 2018