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“The design process started with the urban context and existing mature trees on site which shaped the buildings. From that grew the idea of a series of interconnected social spaces on all levels oriented around the central laneway courtyard.” – Brian Mariotti, Director
Scape Wilson Lane is a new student accommodation village in Sydney’s historic Redfern Darlington precinct neighbouring Carriageworks. The client, Scape, has created standout student communities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Completed in January 2021, Wilson Lane is a low-rise village of 200 studio-style student rooms and a manager’s apartment set around landscaped courtyards, with thoughtfully designed communal facilities, purpose-designed study spaces and on-site management.
Referencing the mixed nature of the precinct, the architecture combines two typologies – a block of four-storey terraces housing 163 studio rooms, and a five-storey warehouse style building with 38 studios. The two are linked by a glass-enclosed bridge. The terraces align to Wilson Street and Wilson Lane, enclosing a offering the studios a tropical garden outlook.
Landscape was a key driver of the project and preserving significant trees around the site informed the location and character of the outdoor spaces, with a central laneway themed entry courtyard, a large lush landscaped quadrangle within the terrace block and a small preserved Casuarina forest buffering the neighbouring terraces to the eastern end of the site.
The entry courtyard features a large mural by local Indigenous artist Danny Eastwood, painted as a welcome to the students. The mural wall bleeds into the central laneway where the two buildings merge.
Indoor student common areas are located around these outdoor spaces, forming a series of interconnected social spaces on all levels including a communal kitchen / dining room, gymnasium, billiards room and table-tennis and study commons on the glass bridge overlooking the courtyards. In the warehouse building, the lower ground level includes four AV-equipped study/meeting pods, a cinema and lecture / events, that draws in natural light from a double-height void and windows to the laneway courtyard.
Materiality and detailing distinguishes the two buildings. The brick terraces share domestic terrace house detailing with their neighbours while the warehouse building has more angular geometries and industrial detailing with a perforated steel balustrade system around the quadrangle apartments. Signage on each level is colour coded for way-finding.