Crown 515 | Smart Design Studio
Surry Hills, NSW, Australia

James Lyall Smith

On a prominent corner in Surry Hills, Crown 515 by Smart Design Studio presents a dynamic form to the street, reinterpreting the traditional terrace row and corner building in a contemporary design of angular shapes and shimmering tessellated tiles. A ground-floor commercial space is envisioned as a restaurant, destined to be part of the local food scene, while five apartments on two upper floors offer bespoke residences.

The project received critical acclaim by winning the 2017 AIA NSW Architecture Award for Multi-Unit Residential projects. The character of the building is formed by two distinct but related architectural gestures that engage in a dialogue on either side of an existing free-standing terrace house, making use of an empty block to one side and a small triangular parcel of land on the other. Derived from the 30-degree pitched roofs and rhythmical vertical portals of adjoining terraces, the language of the new infill section is a reinterpretation of the traditional terrace row. In contrast, the solid walls of the building’s street corners and southern facade are lifted up, like the fabric of a tent, to make an open, active and public corner.

A bluestone plinth forms a datum at the base of the building, resolving the changing ground levels and bringing the public domain into the site from the street. This plinth becomes a platform for outdoor dining or a ledge on which to sit and gather. The south facade is clad in gloss white tessellated mosaic tiles that reflect and refract the surroundings, softly catching and amplifying the southern light. These tiles sculpt the building’s mass, offering strength of form to balance prominent architectural neighbours and completing the massing of this formerly fractured Surry Hills block.

The residential lobby is located to the rear of the development, along the site’s quietest frontage. Residents reach apartment floors via a stairwell stitched into the heart of the building. A custom-made artwork decorates this 3 dimensional lobby, lit from above by a slender skylight. In contrast with the bright white exterior, this interior is dark and rich with colour. Internally, colour schemes for the residences become lighter once more. Each apartment is unique, identifiable by its selected interior hue or key features which draw upon the best characteristics of the surrounding context.

Images Courtesy of Smart Design Studio.

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