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Sculptural bricks blend old with new in Rose Bay


With apartments on one side and townhouses on the other, the form of this sculptural development was partially driven by the need for privacy, as well as creating an outlook.

“Brick was going to be ingrained in our design from the outset, but we were keen to give brick a greater sense of fluidity,” says Waterman.

As well as creating a series of curves, MHN Design Union used two different types of white brick: one matt, the other glossy.

“The building is never static.

The reflection of the light on the bricks continually changes depending on the time of day, giving them an animated quality,” he adds.

Spotted gum soffits complete a limited palette of materials.

Spotted gum soffits complete a limited palette of materials.Credit:Brett Boardman

To allow these sculptural bricks to further come to the foreground, irrespective of the elevation (the property runs west-east), the architects used matt black steel for some of the walls concealed behind the brick blades, as well as for the balustrades and cladding for the entire top-level apartments.

Spotted gum soffits complete the limited palette of materials.

Rather than dominate the front facade with an entrance, reducing the garden space, the architects created a sinuous path of raised concrete garden beds at the core of the development, separating the front apartments from those at the rear.

The lobby’s crazy bluestone paving and hit-and-miss brickwork, combined with an overhead skylight, creates an indoor-outdoor feel upon arrival.

Operable windows behind the brickwork allow for cross-ventilation.

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“We were mindful of providing a certain quality of light, whether you were arriving at your front door or in the three bedrooms,” says Waterman.

The interiors designed by Lawless & Meyerson, also reflect the high standard of finishes for the empty nester market, with the third bedroom conceived as either as a study or a guest bedroom.

Marble kitchens and bathrooms, and European oak parquetry floors combined with bespoke joinery, are all included.

Strategically placed skylights in areas such as kitchens also add to the private yet open feel.

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And to ensure all the habitable rooms receive natural light and have an aspect, the wet areas such as the bathrooms and laundry are located at the core of each apartment.

As important was the concern for outdoor living.

So, while the rear ground floor apartments have their own private gardens, and one of the apartments on the top floor has its own rooftop garden, the other units enjoy generous terraces, three metres in width and spanning the entire living areas, to accommodate serious alfresco dining.

The architects also elevated the development one metre above the street to ensure privacy as well as create a verdant ‘platform’ for the neighbourhood.

For MHN Design Union, this latest offering exemplifies a move toward brick apartments like those in the early 20th century, but combined with features expected for contemporary living.

“Making the transition from a large home to an apartment requires mirroring a certain level of space and amenity that was available in the house left behind.

People still want to be able to have grandchildren stay over and appreciate unimpeded views,” adds Waterman.

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