Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

Austin

Austin is the refurbishment of a rundown warehouse into a new mixed development in the heart of Surry Hills. The existing warehouse building has been given a new lease of life, its interior reorganised into a new extended ground level commercial space, two levels of high quality residential apartments, and a lower ground floor car park. The site is located in the inner-city fringe of Surry Hills, which is characterised by warehouses and Victorian terraces houses that in recent years have housed artist’s studios, galleries and creative work spaces.

 

New, beautifully proportioned and articulated rectangular openings are located within the original openings of the concrete beam and column façade. To give scale and gravitas to the building, these new hand-painted steel windows span over two levels and present as double storey windows. Though they appear bold and simple on first glance, a closer inspection reveals a window within a window with recessed bi-folding on the upper part and flush double-hung on the lower part, allowing the commercial space open up to the street and public domain. We’ve retained the original company name on the building Brackenbury and Austin. Originally a warehouse for a timber yard and the manufacture of Lathes the business ceased producing equipment in the late 1950’s and the building has had a very varied life from then until this recent transformation.

 

The apartments are simple, beautiful and light filled. Working within a wedge-shaped context has meant that each apartment is different from one another, although the material palette is consistent. The all-white, exquisitely detailed, interiors with grey floors are accented with full-gloss rust joinery. The focus of each apartment is the central pod that incorporates the kitchen, laundry, study and general storage.

 

The penthouse apartment, with large rooms, a stair void, and a saw-tooth roof with a generous cantilever is a very special interior space with sweeping views over Surry Hills. The penthouse has a generous balcony running the length of the front and side of the building and the roof area covers this balcony offering protection from the harsher weather elements and creating more entertaining and outdoor living areas.

 

The Smart Design Studio principles of apartment planning, where utilitarian elements are concealed and reliance on doors is minimised are adopted. This, along with careful consideration for circulation and flow, creates elegant apartments that feel easy to live with.The building has been designed with an ESD focus and features include: All spaces naturally ventilated using either a light well or roof skylights. Performance glass, concealed spandrels and external roller blinds. Rain water collection and reuse for flushing toilets and watering plants. Energy and water efficient fixtures and solar hot water to all the apartments, and through maximizing the reuse of the existing building.

 

The ground floor commercial area is a split level floor with an abundance of light and was originally conceived as a restaurant space though it is now utilised as a successful retail store. The forms and details employed within this space reinforce the architecture of this building, its chunky warehouse character, through exposed concrete beams and slabs, complemented by refined forms, refined details and unusual combinations of materials.

 

If you look closely, you’ll see that each of the seven small windows has a slightly different location relative to the grid of larger windows, as illustrated in the diagram above. This “eclipse” effect was conceived as a subtle art based façade, revealing itself only with careful study or over time, say to someone that passed it every day.

The rust red compliments the Hot Chile render, similar to the original colour of the building, and provides it with a distinct identity that compliments the bohemian character of Surry Hills.

SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT