537 Elizabeth Street

Woods Bagot

537 Elizabeth Street marks the introduction of a new living model. Achieving maximum internal space on a slim inner-city footprint in Sydney’s Surry Hills, the building demonstrates the power of modern urban renewal and sets the precedent for design excellence on a city block undergoing significant transformation.

The arrangement of the apartments is rational and functional with just two modern open-plan, one-bedroom apartments on each of seven floors. The apartments were designed to take advantage of the bookend site, providing a dual outlook with framed district views through large south-facing windows. The apartments have either easterly or westerly primary aspects allowing ample daylight and natural cross ventilation.

Joinery has been designed to make the most efficient use of the 51-to-54-square-metre size, with each apartment having a study nook and an amount of storage that is well above average. The study nook transforms, when required, into a guest stay-over. The contrasting quality of raw concrete and refined oak timber joinery achieves a luxury appearance on a modest budget. A timeless, and robust material palette of terrazzo, concrete, timber and plaster flows between each space. The material continuation and use of sliding joinery walls assists in increasing the perceived size of each room, providing the feeling of a larger home within a compact plan. The restrained material palette reduced the amount of trade cross over and simplified the construction process.

The project demonstrates how clever design can positively achieve the amenity criteria of apartment design guidelines despite not meeting the prescriptive spatial requirements. Efficient planning and the incorporation of seamless joinery as a spatial tool continuously maximises internal spaces. Innovation is claimed through the value of the choreographed residential package. Literally, everything you see is what the buyer gets – from the furniture and soft furnishings, to the appliances, through to the glassware and cutlery. Owners need to bring only a few pieces – artworks, lamps and a bed – to impart their personal touch.

Furniture: La Chance, Muuto, E15, Herman Miller. Lighting: XAL. Finishes: Flandre. Fittings & Fixtures: Fabula Living, Astra Walker, Noritake, Miele.

Photography: Trevor Mein