Lend Lease has launched the second release of apartments at Darling Square, an inner-city neighbourhood being developed under Sydney’s $3 billion Darling Harbour revitalisation plans and currently ranked as the city’s most walkable new precinct.

Located on the site of the current Qantas Credit Union Arena, the 581-apartment building faced the challenge of finding its own sense of belonging – seated to the north is the vibrant public room that is Darling Harbour, while the other surrounds are smaller-scaled but no less busy.

As a result the architects, Tzannes Associates, had to respond uniquely so that the new build would be coherent on the scale of a city block, but also varied and particular in acknowledging the characteristics of the public domain in which it sits, and bringing it down to a human scale.

“Rather than being developed from an a priori idea or sculptural concept – as many Australian inner city apartment buildings are – the building character [of Darling Square] is directly derived from its urban context,” explains Ben Green, director of Tzannes.

“We have designed this building so that its character changes as you walk around it. Depending on where you stand, it reads one way from afar, and another as you stand up close and look up. And yet another as you walk around the base. So it is always unexpected, and changing.”

This unexpectedness is achieved with a variety of forms, textures and materials. The northernmost tower, for instance, features a bold form that speaks to Darling Harbour, while the more nuanced, subtly articulated and textured podium and smaller buildings will develop a smaller-scaled, almost incidental alliance with their surroundings.

The material strategy for the building supports these relationships, with the more dramatic elements rendered in concrete and bricks used to make up the smaller details. The use of bricks also connects the building with the area’s rich heritage of brick buildings, from workshops and wharves, to markets and warehouses.

“The brick is textured and articulated to create a rich surface designed to be viewed obliquely; significant formal elements in the design are made of white glazed brick, a rich dark base for the retail spaces, rising to lightly polished, subtly reflective bricks where the apartments meet the sky.” describes Green.

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Tzannes worked closely with brick manufacturers Brickworks to develop the distinctive polished brick, which is made specifically to respond to the particular context of the building as it is viewed against the sky. It is expected that the changing character of these surfaces will ensure the buildings come alive with changing environmental conditions.

The interiors of the building are designed by Bates Smart, with white glazed brick columns, bronze detailing and a bespoke chandelier featured in the lobby entrance. On the podium roof, a heated infinity pool is made available to residents, alongside a landscaped deck, outdoor gym, BBQ facilities and extensive open grassed areas.