Sculpted concrete facade directs daylight into Smart Design Studio’s house for an art collector

Sculpted concrete facade directs daylight into Smart Design Studio’s house for an art collector

Geometric concrete forms collide to create the sculptural facade of this house for a Sydney art collector, which features numerable windows and skylights that illuminate the gallery-like interior. The Indigo Slam residence is located in Sydney’s Chippendale suburb and was designed by local firm Smart Design Studio for the art collector Judith Neilson.

The plot looks onto the new Central Park development, which is home to a pair of plant-covered towers designed by Jean Nouvel, and the building’s main facade presents a bold statement to the adjacent park. The sculpted concrete surfaces bulge or curl outwards to accommodate openings designed to funnel natural light into the interior.

“The concrete facade of Indigo Slam is alive to the changes wrought by light, shade, sun and cloud,” said the architects, “providing the new urban park across the road with a lively backdrop to public life.”

Internally, smooth surfaces create sweeping and intersecting shapes, resulting in an interplay of light and shadow that is emphasised by their white rendered treatment. The effect is particularly pronounced in the dramatic stairway hall, which is reached through a low, narrow corridor that extends from the house’s entrance vestibule. The corridor emerges into the cavernous hallway, with its high arching ceiling illuminated by concealed roof lights. “This room is a space unique in Australian residential architecture – grand and austere in its size and sparseness, but inviting and exciting as it leads one upwards through the building,” said the architects. Living areas situated off the grand hall are smaller in scale and have a more intimate feel as a result. These include bedrooms on the first floor that overlook the park, and that are provided with shade and privacy by the sweeping forms of the facade. A muted material palette including brick-paved floors lends the interior a pared-back aesthetic that enhances the quality of light within the spaces and provides a suitable backdrop for the owner’s art collection.

The main living spaces including a sitting room and dining room are accommodated on the second floor looking onto the park, while a sky-lit kitchen and study look back towards the internal hall.

Vertical timber louvres incorporated behind the property’s glazing and operated using suspended chains allow the level of privacy within the interior spaces to be controlled.

Awning windows can also be opened using geared winders with brass mechanisms that introduce a robust and tactile detail alongside the concrete, glass and steel of the facades.

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