Apartment Aria is about views and rooms. Views to Sydney Icons, views to iconic paintings and rooms from which these icons might be viewed, resulting in an apartment that is a constant reminder of place.
Located in Kirribilli, Sydney, the apartment is dominated with dress circle views of Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. These wide-spanning views created opportunities for subtle planning shifts to both frame and funnel views outwards, towards the harbour.
A collaboration beween McGregor Westlake Architecture, and Julia English Architects, the internal circulation of the apartment was also reconsidered, with long, focused sightlines towards several artworks owned by the clients and painted by aboriginal artist Dorothy Napangardi. The largest of which is composed of white markings over a black background. The didactic dramatic interface of rich black against the existing white walls informed the initial idea of an internal ‘dark core’, creating tonal respite for the dominant black bounded by dark, rich umber. The darkly painted spine of joinery formulates the internal hierarchy of spaces, extending from lobby to living room, emanating outwards and becoming lighter to capture entering light.
The existing apartment was spatially reworked to create a harmonious arrangement of spaces, with the core extending the internal length of the apartment, concealing services, fixtures bathroom, bar, bedroom and study thresholds. Countering the core, the walls, floors and ceilings are deliberately lighter to enable views to be appreciated.
The palette of the scheme was restrained and tonal. So each material was carefully considered as it was repeated throughout the space from the dark rich umber joinery panels to the light washed herringbone timber floors both of which used expansively throughout the apartment. Using these singular materials throughout the space allowed a careful selection for the design but also became cost effective to the whole scheme.
This project is inextricably linked to the surrounding context, with unimpeded views to the harbour and iconic landmarks. Materiality matches the sequencing of spaces, with a deliberately darkened entryway and contrasting bleached walls and ceilings to enable views to feature. Marquetry-like wall work, that arranges parquetry floor pieces welcome entrants in the lobby, as an ode to Utzon’s Opera House interiors, with dynamic geometries and counter relief highlighted in reds, deep blues and gold leaf.