Burwood Highway, Burwood East


The existing urban character of Burwood East features a myriad of structures, with large scale complexes blended amongst smaller scale residences. Yet, commonality can still be found within the diverse architectural languages of the suburb, namely each building’s guise perfectly reflects the program they embody. Consequently, it was important for us to evaluate what it is we wanted to convey with our project; to do justice to both the users of the building and the suburb itself.

The serviced apartments complement surrounding facilities, developing a more consolidated urban situation. Cognizant of its privileged position, the building works ceaselessly in plan and section to articulate all its highly visible facades, including its prominent corner and the way floor levels step down towards the residential neighbours. The design seeks to take advantage of the possible natural northern light whilst recognizing the exposure of the southern façade. Overall the prisms that compose the serviced apartment volumes above retail, allow for great amenity to each apartment be it facing north, east, west or south.

The architectural response is neighbourly but not submissive, reasserting the right of retail and hospitality architecture to con­fidently address the public realm. Its tightly worked composition, with an unsentimentally raw material palette, searches to expose the program it embodies and is a reflection of its time.

Situated on the corner of Burwood Highway and Mahoneys Road, the design took much consideration for the certain attention it would garner from the daily commuter. Of course, this entailed evaluating the building’s instantaneous effect on the passer-by, relative to the rate by which they passed – indeed, the experience for someone driving by would be utterly different to that of someone walking. Thus, the building’s deep interior spaces from the sloping street levels along Mahoneys Road allows for varying degrees of interaction from the public. Moreover, the depth creates opportunities for a qualified public open space, where the transparency and mixed uses responds to a human scale, establishing an active public realm.