As the South Sydney Corridor readies itself for the massive expansion of apartment offerings at Green Square, a recently completed project in Alexandria demonstrates an alternative to building brand new, glamorous buildings—even for those targeting the high-end property market.
Cargo Lane Terraces by Turner + Associates and PBD Architects at 8 Brennan Street Alexandria saw the injection of six, three-storey terrace houses and 34 apartments into the existing brick veneer façade of an industrial warehouse.
While the size of the apartments probably wouldn’t earn points on any sort of sustainability housing model—they’re rather large by most standards and few in number—they do demonstrate the ability of the architect to create a space that could have just as easily alienated itself from the surrounding locale.
Cargo Lane is a stone’s throw from the CBD and steps from the heritage listed Alexandria Park, so it was only a matter of time before it went down the road of gentrification. Getting the building right for the client’s target market however was a less assured task for PBD Architects, who were briefed to create a building with all the bells and whistles of upmarket apartment living within the industrious fabric of a South Sydney warehouse.
Paul Buljevic, Managing Director of PBD Architects notes that marrying the history of the site with the new additions was achieved through referential material detailing and with help from structural engineers.
“Even though Council did not actually require retention of the existing façade as it was not a heritage building it was retained for its existing character and adaptive re-use approach for the terrace component of the development,” says Buljevic.
“The limitation imposed upon by the existing façade retention was the biggest challenge for the project however we worked closely with the Structural Engineer to explore innovative methods of supporting the existing façade with elements of the new built fabric.”
That detailing included the use of a diverse palette of materials including steel, concrete, Western Red Cedar battens, plants and a unique application of Fielders Nail Strip which clads the box volumes above the revitalised brick façade.
Another detail Buljevic highlights as an important part of the project is the punctured slot in the building façade which he says provides additional articulation whilst contributing to cross flow ventilation.
Walk inside Cargo and you’d think you’d left the suburb of Alexandria; “open-planned”, “light-filled” and “triple storey” certainly aren’t words traditionally associated with South Sydney living arrangements; nor are Cargo’s expansive outdoor entertaining areas with luxury lap pools and landscaped courtyard gardens. But just like any investment property project, Turner + Associates and PBD Architects were handed a brief, given a target market and marked on their ability to design and sell.
At least on that measure the architects will admit they did “very well”.
BOX VOLUME CLADDING
Fielders, Nail Strip
FIXED TIMBER SCREEN
Western Red Cedar battens, finished with Sikkens
Astec Acrylic Render
WINDOWS & HINGED DOOR FRAMES
INTERNAL DOOR FRAMES
Advanced Metal Door Frames, Pressed Metal
FRONT ENTRY DOORS
Hudsons, single rebate primed jointed pine
Havwoods, Europlank 180mm