Sited on the popular George Street, this landscaped development celebrates and adds new energy to its downtown Sydney location. Comprised of 12 boutique shops, 18 bars, nine restaurants, two penthouse suites, a rooftop pool, a garden atrium and one of the city’s largest ballrooms, the intricate hospitality ensemble seamlessly reinvigorates previously neglected pedestrian areas.
The architectural elements work in modern sympathy with the original 1895 building for the Life Assurance Society of America, designed by architect Edward Raht. The grid nature of the in-situ concrete and pre-cast split face stone walls create different permutations of façade openings and lush garden courtyards on all street frontages. Providing multiple through-site connections, carefully located entries at various points invite visitors to weave in from the street to rest, shop, and socialize away from the bustle of the city and rediscover Sydney’s lost laneway network.
The design applies a careful understanding of the interrelationship between architecture, landscape and interiors. Despite residing within a commercial domain, ivy evokes domesticity. Key elements of idealized 1950s modernist residences are reinterpreted and over-scaled into a harmonious sequence of indoor/outdoor rooms.
Externally, salvaged stone elements combine with new board form concrete, ribbed bronze detailing and glass to tell a visual story of the site’s history. Delicate framed windows and operable panel doors to remove the barriers between public and commercial space. Pre-cast concrete planter boxes built into the exterior hold thick, overhanging greenery to further enhance the pedestrian experience.