The celebrated multidisciplinary design practice SJB is finishing the year on a high after taking out awards at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) and the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors held in Singapore recently. The prestigious WAF World Interior of the Year 2023 was awarded to 19 Waterloo Street which also won the INSIDE award’s residential (single dwelling) category. Today we’re going to take you on a tour of the highly original project.
Nestled in Surry Hills, the project illustrates how you can take a postage stamp site (it’s just 29 square metres) and achieve all the amenity of a traditional, larger home. An exercise in doing more with less, the project is an example of inner-city, high density living done well and the jury described it as “like a wardrobe for the architect himself to live in…not only a building or an interior but a pocket-sized tour de force.”
Sitting amidst warehouses and terrace homes, the corner terrace site is weathered by decades of architectural history. A patchwork of additions and lean-tos, it has had many lives – it was previously a butcher shop, grocer, window workshop, hatter and finally a restaurant. Each incarnation lefts its mark on the original building but SJB has now transformed it into a mixed-use haven that includes a shop, self-contained flat and cosy home all in one.
Featuring a new 30 square metre addition at the rear, the spaces tally 69 square metres in total and are neatly divided into service and non-service areas. The storage, kitchen, robe and ensuite boast 2.1 metre ceilings while grand 3.6 metres ceilings are reserved for the study, living and bedroom areas.
Externally, the house is playful, textured and brimming with personality. Reclaimed bricks reflect the historic sandstone vibe of the area – they’re artfully cut and folded to conceal openings and preserve views. The upper bricks shift in scale and frame the windows and supporting greenery.
The artistry continues at the front gate where a cast bronze sculpture by Mika Utzon-Popov welcomes visitors while inside an all-encompassing landscape by Nicholas Harding in the living room extends its view to the street.
Photography: Anson Smart