St Andrews House

Project status: Completed in 2015
Location: Sydney, NSW

Photography: Brett Boardman

AIA NSW Premier’s Prize 2016

AIA National Architecture Award Public Buildings, 2016

St Andrews House is a three-storey, not-for-profit residential care facility developed to provide accommodation and care for young adults with a physical or intellectual disability. The facility contains ten bedrooms, complete with ensuite, communal living and dining areas, kitchens, administration offices and numerous courtyards with beautifully landscaped areas.

Key to the project is a focus on community. Residents enjoy a private bedroom and commune together in shared living and dining areas that connect to outdoor courtyards and landscaped gardens.

All bedrooms, located on levels one and two, enjoy a northern aspect, overlooking the courtyard and landscaped areas on the ground floor. Recessed windows provide shelter from the heat in summer whilst embracing sunlight when it is needed in winter.

The main communal living and dining areas on the ground floor also face north to the courtyard. Large, deep splayed brick walls filter light into the space, providing a restful and sheltered place that connects seamlessly with outside. Views to the south from this space overlook another courtyard, which provides light and air to the offices on ground floor and the shared ancillary spaces on the upper levels.

An east-west axis connects the building to the adjacent St Andrews Church, an important connection that provides support and a social community for the residents. This central axis allows the building to be read as a natural extension to the church, whilst maintaining its independence as a home.

Materiality throughout the project is robust, pared-back and refined, with off-form concrete and painted white brick providing a complementary but reinterpreted addition to the surrounding, mostly residential context.

Stepped, brick detailing to corners of the east and west fa├žades create playful moments of shadow. Similar compositions in brick on the ground floor act as a friendly invitation to visitors, directing them through landscaped areas towards the main entrance.

St. Andrews House, although built from modest means, achieves a high level of amenity for residents and respects the local context, with highly considered details offering moments of reflection to both the occupants and the public domain.