10 Wylde Street
Potts Point NSW
Architect: SJB Architects
Builder: Richard Crookes Constructions
Blocklayer: Brickmen Constructions Australia
Austral Masonry Solitary Smooth in Ash
390 x 90 x 40 mm (type 5071
390 x 190 x 40 (type 5031)
Single bullnose 390 x 90 x 40 mm (special)
Double bullnose 250 x 90 x 40 mm (special)
Photography: Brett Boardman
In Potts Point, a perfect blend of design, materiality and place
With killer north views across the Royal Botanic Gardens to the Opera House and beyond, the new luxury apartments at 10 Wylde Street, Potts Point could well be the embodiment of the real estate agent’s mantra “location, location, location”.
Surprisingly, this is the first major residential development in Potts Point in more than five years. Beginning in the 1920s, the upmarket suburb was the site of Sydney’s earliest apartment buildings and as a result it now boasts the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in Australia.
Today only a handful of the grand houses remains and the suburb is an increasingly dense urban environment. Some of the mid-century tower buildings are of mixed quality but the area retains much of the Deco character for which it is justly renowned.
“Macleay Street in particular has a really beautiful tradition of crafted masonry buildings,” explains Adam Haddow, the project’s design director. “So our intent was to add to that image but in a contemporary way.” Haddow worked with the project architect Charles Peters and interior design director Jonathan Richards.
The seven-storey building houses 22 apartments in a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom formats, the latter being half of the mix. Three apartments are adaptable to special needs residents while two basement levels accommodate 30 vehicles and secure storage for each apartment.
The design challenge was to provide a balance between the formal, classical values of Potts Point’s architectural character with the need to access the highly-prized northern views.
The designers chose concrete block as the facade material for all but the northern elevation. Concrete masonry is part of a palette of natural materials, including copper, that are renowned for their beauty and ability to age gracefully.
To the street, 10 Wylde Street presents as a masonry structure and references the proportions of the surrounding early-20th century apartment buildings. The street facade curves gracefully as it follows the bend in Wylde Street. The western (street) and eastern elevations display a strongly-gridded articulation, with the Juliet balconies giving depth and proportion while retaining privacy and allowing views to the street on the west or across Garden Island and to The Heads on the east. Masonry’s high acoustic values also minimise the impact of traffic noise from the street.
The northern facade is transparent with slim aluminium framing, slender columns and finely-detailed slab edges that mirror those of adjacent buildings. Its lightness is in marked contrast with the solid gravity of the masonry facades.
The units selected were Austral Masonry’s Solitary Smooth blocks in Ash. The designers chose to give emphasis to the horizontality of the walling by specifying a very wide aspect unit, commonly called a Roman format because it is reminiscent of the broad brick proportions favoured by the ancient Romans.
The principal block used in this project has a face that is 390 mm long by 40 mm high, an aspect ratio of 10:1. In contrast, a standard clay brick has a face measuring 230 x 76 mm or 3:1. The renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright used broad aspect bricks, about 6:1, to emphasise the horizontality of his celebrated Prairie Style houses.
A total of 110,000 masonry units were manufactured and delivered to the Wylde Street site, of which 90,000 were the standard broad aspect units, 390 x 90 x 40 mm.