From the architect:
The history of Surry Hills is one of constant change, adaption and renewal. Occupying a postage-stamp-sized site, 52 Reservoir responds to this legacy with a fine-grain response to the surrounding streetscape revitalising an overlooked part of the suburb. Constructed almost entirely during Sydney’s lockdown, this joyful commercial building delivers ground plane retail, eight levels of boutique office space with landscaped courtyards and a roof terrace providing an oasis of green space amenity within a dense urban environment.
For developer Michael Grant of Cornerstone Property Group, the key move in SJB’s competition-winning scheme was in “the introduction of the gap. This allowed light to be delivered to three sides of the building and in addition, has provided many other urban benefits.”
Equally prominent is the project’s aquamarine façade sculpted from custom glazed bricks confidently announcing its presence on Reservoir Street. As the building rises to meet the parapets of its neighbours it steps back to reveal a gently scalloping exposed concrete structure.
A new laneway formed between 52 Reservoir and its western neighbour connects Reservoir and Foster Streets for the first time since the early 20th century. Floating above the new through-site link is an ephemeral installation of large format glazed panels by artist Marisa Purcell evoking a canopy of dappled light and shadow above the thoroughfare. In the centre of the laneway, an immersive timber lobby space welcomes visitors into the building - a beacon between the adjacent concrete spaces.
“We wanted to create the quality of a warehouse in a contemporary fabric,” explains Adam Haddow, Director, SJB. “We punched large windows through the façade so the building breathes and worked hard to make it simple, column-free spaces with services all sitting within the side spine, so there’s no clutter. There’s a calmness and serenity to the spaces that will be wonderful to work in.”
If the site is a microcosm of Surry Hills, then 52 Reservoir Street adds a new commercial layer befitting the post-Covid era with its “simple vision to change the way people live and work,” says Michael Grant. “I think to come to work in this building every day would be a great joy as the building reveals itself in many different ways during the course of the day.”