Bricks from PGH Bricks & Pavers were chosen by the architects to add a classical touch to the contemporary look of a new medium density residential development near Bondi Beach in suburban Sydney, New South Wales.

Nestled on a hill overlooking the world-famous Bondi Beach, The Moreton represents contemporary design in a heritage setting, redefining modern coastal living. The development comprises of five low-rise buildings – collectively housing 190 apartments – arranged around a central green courtyard and the historic Scarba House, a beautifully preserved Victorian Italianate building, which has been reinvented as Moreton Manor. The apartments range from studios and penthouses to private townhouses, with each building carefully angled to optimise the northern sun, sea breezes, green space and iconic views.

Representing a collaboration between Mirvac Design and Smart Design Studio, the development integrates its urban context with the existing landscape and the site’s heritage. All the buildings are connected by a common design language of crisp white brick facades.

“Painted face brick with raked joints was used to reference Bondi’s adjoining brick buildings in a contemporary way, whilst also providing a robust and durable exterior for a coastal setting,” explains Carolyn Mitchell from Mirvac Design. “Brick was the ideal material for creating the contemporary yet classical look we wanted, whilst imbuing the low-rise boutique buildings with a unique character that links back to the heritage of the site.

“We opted for Dry Pressed bricks from PGH Bricks due to their high quality, and the company’s ability to design custom extrusions for the acute, angled façade elements, which highlight the buildings’ design and architectural intent,” she added.

“Bronze metalwork, reminiscent of the detail of heritage facades, offers a contrast to the solid white brick - adding warmth to the colour palette and reflecting the colours of the landscape,” Mitchell said. All the buildings were carefully designed around the heritage garden, including the magnificent listed fig trees from which the development derived its name. 

Though the process was challenging, the architectural design team was able to retain heritage elements such as the trees, Scarba House and significant sandstone walls, all of which were expertly leveraged to enhance the development’s aesthetic and functionality. The generous canopies of the century-old Moreton Bay fig trees, for example, have been utilised to create a series of shared outdoor spaces including a kitchen garden, where residents can compost, plant and harvest vegetables, as well as socialise during community gatherings and celebrations via the barbecue and gardens.

Sustainable living has been prioritised at The Moreton development with all apartments designed to exceed the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) for water and energy by 75 per cent.

Key sustainability initiatives include the planting of 70 new low-water native plants and trees, parking space for over 200 bicycles, composting facilities, LED lighting to reduce power consumption costs by up to 75 per cent, and installation of a 99,500-litre rainwater tank for toilet flushing and irrigation.

“The project’s social and environmental aspirations are to extend the life of the site, which had been vacated by its previous user,” explains Mitchell. “Moreover, by taking the existing streetscape and neighbours’ access to local facilities into consideration when designing The Moreton, the outcome is a precinct enjoyed by its residents and the public alike: a contemporary, distinctive, sustainable community of multi-residential homes within a unique landscape.”