19 Waterloo Street | Surry Hills, NSW, Australia | 2023

19 Waterloo Street is buried amongst the chaos of warehouses and terraces that once served Sydney’s rag trade. A corner terrace with decades of architectural detritus had engulfed the site with a never-ending cascade of additions and lean-tos with the odd weed surviving between the cracks of the concrete path. As a butchers, a grocer, a window workshop, a hatter and finally a design studio, each with the attached rooms above, the original building had had a checkered past.

Our intent was to deliver a mixed-use house, breaking up the site to deliver more. Our ambition: a shop, a self-contained flat and a home. Three uses out of one.

The new addition at the rear of the site is accommodated on just 30 sqm and has a total internal area of 69 sqm. Using a split section, the stair is the pinwheel around which the house moves. The dwelling is divided into spaces that are served or in service. The service spaces are short with 2.1m ceilings – storage, kitchen, robe and ensuite, while the served spaces are grand with 3.6m ceilings – study, living and bedroom. With a maximum depth of 3.3 meters, light and ventilation are at your fingertips, always connecting you to the energy of the day while lending the house a strong sense of urbanity – you are living in the city.

Externally the house is playful and textured – riffing the motives and materiality of the suburb that surrounds it. A little like a house from a Jacques Tati film, the façade feels alive with personality. Reclaimed bricks form the canvas, discarded broken ones reflect the historic sandstone base of the surrounding streets and are cut and folded to hide openings and protect views, while the upper bricks shift in scale to frame windows and support planting.

During the making of the house artists were commissioned to present a generous edge. The front gate is a cast bronze sculpture by Mika Utzon-Popov, and an all-enveloping landscape painting by Nicholas Harding in the living room is able to be viewed from the street. Text description by the architects.

Source: www.sjb.com.au
Photography by: Anson Smart 
Site Area: 30 sqm