The development plans for the transformation of the iconic Sirius social housing building in Sydney into luxury apartments has been placed on public exhibition. Developer JDH Capital had earlier lodged the plans for the controversial building with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

Designed by leading architecture studio BVN Architecture, the redevelopment will see the existing concrete structure retained, repaired and stabilised, with several additions and alterations included to transform the social housing apartments into ultra-luxury boutique apartments.

A standing example of brutalist architecture, the Sirius building was designed by architect Tao Gofers and built in the late 1970s as a social housing project. However, the NSW Government decided to sell off the building in 2015, a decision that drew considerable public criticism. The sale was completed in 2019 with JDH Capital buying the property for $150 million.

BVN was appointed the architect for the redevelopment following a design competition, which also saw submissions by Tzannes and SJB.

BVN’s proposal for the adaptive reuse of the existing Sirius building retains the iconic structure in a ‘long-term economically sustainable manner’, according to the planning documents. The adaptive reuse will reduce the number of apartments from 79 to 76. Aligned with the primary objective of retaining the existing building with integrity, the design scheme aims to maintain legibility of the original building, including ‘its materiality, modulating roof line, proportions, construction and modular conceptual composition’.

According to the architects, the design of the new building additions is both informed by the original, and clearly distinguished from it.

The proposal includes a series of strategies to remediate the existing concrete structure, while maintaining the building’s circulation systems and general configuration. Lightweight prefabricated pods clad in recycled copper will be added to the main structure to ‘clearly articulate the new against the restored concrete of the existing building’.

The scheme also envisages a building that provides contemporary residential amenity, including increased access to private external space, integration of new services, increased SEPP 65 compliance; and improves the building’s ground plane contribution to the public realm through the introduction of a through-site link, inclusion of fine grain commercial and SoHo spaces along Gloucester Walk, increasing private residential street entries, a cafe space on the north end of the building, and integration of the car park entry on Cumberland Street into a new structure, which houses a ground floor cafe and pool facilities.

Additionally, rooftop gardens will be established to provide amenity to residents while also significantly improving the external appearance since the building and its rooftops are visible from many vantage points around Circular Quay.

The proposal for the Sirius redevelopment is on public exhibition for community feedback until 17 December.