Sanctuary in the city

Residential and student apartments, retail space and a central public plaza make up the multi-purpose Quadrant complex an inner-city hub that invites communal interaction
View of apartment and retail complex from paved apartment, architecture, building, city, commercial building, condominium, corporate headquarters, daytime, elevation, facade, headquarters, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, neighbourhood, real estate, residential area, sky, skyscraper, tower block, urban area, urban design, blue
View of apartment and retail complex from paved central plaza, featuring seating and sculpture.

As congestion grows in inner-city environments, the answer may well be to look to the past. Imagine an Italian-style piazza, complete with bell-tower, where community is celebrated, not excluded, crime is minimised by passive public scrutiny and riding bicycles and walking are the favoured forms of transport.

Tucked behind heritage buildings on the fringe of Sydney's CBD, the Quadrant Off Broadway provides a new residential space with a community-minded spirit. The project is mixed use and includes 234 residential apartments, 63 student apartments, with 253 beds, 10,000m² of commercial space and 3000m² of retail.

Created by architects Cox Richardson, Quadrant's mixed use encourages a variety of activity around the central plaza.

High density environmental issues were a primary focus for the project. For example, combining work, study, living and retail on one site near a transport hub and two universities promoted pedestrian and cyclist traffic over car use.

The size of each building within the complex is configured around the scale of the adjacent cityscape and to maximise solar access to the plaza.

An eight-storey block rising behind Broadway's heritage shops houses the student accommodation on the southern edge of Quadrant. This block is stepped back from the historical frontage to allow the heritage shops to retain their own form.


Open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area with interior design, living room, real estate, room, gray
Open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area with light coloured walls and kitchen cabinetry, light grey carpet, wicker coffee table and chair, timber look cabinet and dining suite, large mirror and stainless steel kitchen appliances.

Rather than creating a closed off residential sanctum, access to the plaza is encouraged by highly visible entries from the surrounding streets, stairs and lanes, says project architect Paul Sproule.

"The central plaza's public nature and visibility from surrounding buildings makes it a safe place to be."

Complete with comprehensive landscaping including mature trees and a water fountain that masks traffic noise, the public plaza is at the heart of the Quadrant's community feel. In addition to this, all rooftops are utilised for recreation. A rooftop swimming pool, outdoor gym, paved terraces and gardens with views to the city skyline are accessible to all residents. The students also have their own private rooftop space.

Quadrant's building materials, such as glass and aluminium balustrades and windows and brickwork, were specified for their minimal maintenance needs.

Apartment types range from two storey maisonettes in the eastern tower to studios, together with the student accommodation. Separate entries and careful planning avoids long corridor access to the apartments.

The architectural expression of the buildings reflects contemporary apartment living where the terrace is used as an outside room that can be moderated by residents using external louvre systems. These provide control over solar penetration and also privacy.

Apartment bedroom with large windows and view of apartment, architecture, balcony, condominium, interior design, penthouse apartment, real estate, room, suite, window, gray, white
Apartment bedroom with large windows and view of city, white walls and bedside table and lamp.

Inside the apartment themselves, Cox Richardson created a sense of space and light that runs from the entry through the apartment living areas out to the terraces.

"With Quadrant, the flow of indoor to outdoor living is important," Sproule says. "The terraces are turned into indoor rooms simply by closing the shutters."

Issues of sustainability were important inside the apartments with durability a key consideration. Hard-wearing surfaces and finishes were specified throughout.

Simplicity was important in the apartments and provided a suitable backdrop to the end user's requirements, says Tania Taylor of Cox Interiors.

"Kitchen zones are treated as part of the greater living environment. The appliances are on show and cupboard handles are unobtrusive," says Taylor. "The materials are contemporary translations of traditional materials but focused on modern use, living and maintenance."

Below ground level, the Quadrant Off Broadway offers limited car parking. True to its sense of community spirit, lockable bicycle areas are provided. A large public transport station is also nearby.

Jun 15, 2005

Credit list

Architects
Cox Richardson Architects, Paul Sproule, Philip Cox, Philip Graus, Sally Kendon, Alex Small
Builder
Baulderstone Hornibrook
Civil and structural engineer
Robert Bird & Partners
Mechanical engineer
Baratech
Hydraulic engineer
Boon and Willard
Heritage and conservation
Noel Bell, Ridley Smith
Acoustic consultant
Acoustic Logic Consultancy
Interiors
Tania Taylor, Cox Interiors
Pool
Crystal Pools
Developer
Australand
Project manager
Lachlan
Services design
George Floth
Electrical engineer
O�Donnell Griffin
Landscaping
Hughes Landscape Architects
Environmental planner
Vipac
Quantity Surveyor
Ludlow Gavahan
Windows and louvres
Specialised Windows
Sculpture
Michael Snape
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