Lawson Square, Redfern

Project status: Completed in 2019
Location: Redfern, NSW

Photography: Brett Boardman

Designed in collaboration with Wendy Lewin, 1 Lawson Square in Redfern is a re-purposing project of two towers, combining both residential and commercial functionality. There are 151 residential dwellings in total, each unit reflecting a considered approach to materiality and detailed design through the inclusion of elements such as multi-function doors which allow for a variety of configurations.

The project has key elements which dictate the approach to design and construction, one of which, is that the project requires staging in two parts. This has allowed the tenants,‘NSW Police’, to be accommodated throughout the duration of the construction process. Another is that the project has been designed in order to retain the structure of the existing towers. The facades have been architecturally articulated, serving to reduce the apparent bulk, providing an appropriate scale to the mixed-use development within the existing and future context.

In seeking to achieve a reduction in its mass at street level, the western end of Tower 1 has been lowered, ensuring that the amenity to the neighbouring property at 157 Redfern Street is not compromised. It also serves to create a more modest proportion facing Redfern Railway Station.

It is a key element influencing the building design, that it’s located adjacent to Redfern Station and that it sits on a railway tunnel. In response, it has been designed to avoid adding additional load to the footings of the building despite adding extra floors & changing the use of the higher levels. The project is also one which adaptively re-uses the existing building. In doing so, the design maintains the existing floor plates and column grid structure to the existing building.

There has been conscious effort made in response to the surrounding built environment through the use of materials. Marble, glass, aluminium, off-form concrete and glass reinforced concrete (GRC) reflect the colours of the surrounding city. The palette sets a precedent for future high density, multi-residential developments in the area promoting a sense of refinement and longevity.

Internally, all primary living spaces and private open spaces within the units are provided with extensive views across the city, with the majority having aspects to the north and north-east, which assists in maximising on natural light and ventilation. The existing separation between the two towers preserves these qualities as well as providing acoustic and visual privacy. Incorporating aluminium privacy louvres assist in excluding views to neighbouring residences without impacting views of the city.

A combination of staged building, mixed use typology, adaptive re-use and building on a railway tunnel makes the approach and design solutions to Lawson Square very innovative.