Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects

Maxwell at Harold Park

At the juncture between Harold Park and a spectacular sandstone cliff is Maxwell Place, by Smart Design Studio with Mirvac Design. Conceived of as a promontory, the building’s angled façade of sheer vertical walls and layered horizontal slabs draws inspiration from the exposed sedimentary sandstone typical of Sydney’s geology. Extending this concept, entries and slots within the façade become “canyons”; cooler spaces for promoting natural ventilation which also lend the building the proportions, at a grander scale, of the terrace houses of nearby Glebe. The building façades feature high quality and weighty materials, from raked-joint face brickwork and exposed concrete bands, painted white and designed to be animated by light and shade, to the robust texture of sandstone around the base of the buildings, connected back to the earth

SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Landscaping is key to the proposal. As the topmost slab of the building sits virtually flush with the adjacent Maxwell Road to become a fifth façade, it is carefully patterned with sedum planting, pebble ballast and solar panels. The private courtyards at the base of the building either directly connect to the new public green space on the parkside or affront the vegetated sandstone cliff, which serves as a spectacular courtyard wall to the apartments facing Glebe.

SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Smart Design Studio’s approach is to create buildings where the interiors and architecture are conceived of as one. The building’s “promontory” concept and the backdrop of the dramatic rockface was therefore strongly influential in the design and the palette adopted for the interiors. Internal forms reference the bulk of the cliff, with monolithic and strong shapes to kitchen joinery overlaid in a horizontal veneer to reflect the layering of its stone. This conceptual approach extends throughout the interiors, influencing the selection of all finishes, fixtures and details and subtly relating to the angular form of the building.

SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Reflective tinted mirrored surfaces featuring throughout the apartments suggest the deep reflective pools found at the base of caverns and offer a soft lightness in contrast to the strongly textured veneers. Bathrooms draw further upon the context; earthy textured mosaics wrap down walls and across the floor in an elegant representation of a rocky crevasse. With fine detailing, a vertical emphasis and precise metal trims the bathrooms and ensuites feel spacious and luxurious.

SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT