Located in Sydney’s inner-city neighborhood, Surry Hill, this mixed-use apartment building is an undertaking in providing humans with a connection to nature in a dense, urban setting that lacks greenery. The outcome is a series of contained gardens inserted into exterior components clad in board-form concrete, such as the rooftop and private, cantilevered balconies. The plants chosen for the gardens are native to the region and meet minimal water requirements to prevent creating pollution through runoff. Furthering the project’s environmental agenda, the staggered terraces along the façade provide shading against natural daylight and maintain thermal performance and privacy. Inside the building, which houses 22 apartments, windows are placed on both the northern and southern perimeter so tenants can enjoy cross ventilation as well as a full-height sliding glass door to their outdoor space. Understated interiors are styled with unfinished concrete ceilings and warm oak floors.
Retail spaces defined by a black steel and powder-coated aluminum bay window frame are located at the street level. The upper residential section atop of the commercial element of the building was set back in a way that is apropos to the historic neighborhood. Because the area is revered for its walkability, a void was maintained between its eastern boundary neighbor, a Methodist church with similar materiality and cubist forms, so that pedestrians can travel throughout the neighborhood via the lane—ergo the moniker.