Location: Sydney, Australia.

Architect: Woods Bagot.

537 is a prototype for a new type of living space that combines elements of residential, serviced apartment, and hotel living. The building has seven floors and contains 12 one-bedroom-plus-study apartments, with two apartments per floor. The building is designed to complement other residential and commercial developments in the area and aligns with the setback and street wall of a future residential development to the north of the site. The building features an expressive element called a “surround frame” that gives it scale and presence and provides a continuous articulation from either the northerly or southerly approach along Elizabeth Street.

The building is made of board-marked concrete and timber-clad interior design, which gives it a humane and tactile feel. There are no applied finishes, and the board-form concrete has been poured into a mold and then removed, leaving the expression of the building. Each apartment has a dual outlook, with glazed doors and large windows to two sides providing ample daylight and natural cross ventilation. The apartments offer visual and acoustic privacy, storage, and indoor and outdoor space, with efficient layouts and accessible service areas. The internal walls, location of services, and floor layouts of only two apartments per floor allow for future adaptation by different users over time. The interior of each apartment is made up entirely of joinery components and modules for a wholly integrated outcome. The joinery optimizes internal space in the building’s modest footprint, with sliding timber panels concealing a fold-out guest bed, laundry and storage, alongside a full kitchen and fully integrated desk and shelving in the media (study) space. The building’s innovation lies in the value of the choreographed residential package, where everything the buyer sees is what they get, from the furniture and soft furnishings to the appliances, glassware, and cutlery. Owners only need to bring a few pieces, such as artworks, lamps, and a bed, to impart their personal touch. Craft and materiality drove the architectural and interior design intent, with the material unity between the building’s board-marked concrete architecture and its timber-clad interior design defining the development.

Photo credit: Trevor Mein.