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Australian project takes out World Interior of the Year

07 Dec 2023 By architectureau

Australian project takes out World Interior of the Year

Australian multidisciplinary design firm SJB has claimed three awards at this year's Inside World Festival of Interiors as part of the World Architecture Festival in Singapore.

19 Waterloo Street won both the Interior of the Year and the Residential Single Dwelling Award. The jury praised the modestly-sized residence for being "like a wardrobe for the architect himself to live in … not only a building or an interior but a pocket-sized tour de force." The Tetris-like plan comprises seven internal floors and the façade is dotted with 15 openings onto the street-a design approach that the judges felt "generated a satisfying alignment and play of light."

Adam Haddow, SJB's director and the co-owner of 19 Waterloo Street, describes the project as an "exercise in how one can take a postage stamp site of 29 square metres and do more with less while achieving all the amenity of a 'big house.'"

Writing in Architecture Australia, Anthony St John Parsons said: "The planning of the house is a wonderful interplay of varying levels, with seven different floors in total, all cantilevered around a slender central stair. The house stands no taller than its three-storey neighbours, and all seven levels are contained within the 12-metre height limit imposed on the build by the City of Sydney."

Parsons goes on to highlight the designer-owner's clever solution to size and zoning restrictions: "At just 69 square metres in total, with two bathrooms and 1.5 bedrooms (the study is occasionally used as a bedroom by a teenage niece), 19 Waterloo Street would, if it were an apartment, fail to meet the guidelines set by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's Apartment Design Guide. However, this is a case of knowing the rules in order to bend them. Haddow's in-depth knowledge of the state policy has enabled him to skirt the precise numerical requirements in a creative manner, furthering the argument that while the policy has raised the general standard of apartments, it has suppressed any design excellence or push for new ideas from which dense apartment buildings might benefit."

The residence's awards recognition highlights the challenges inherent in designing for dense urban sites while reinforcing the big potential of small spaces. In this case, giving its owners a shop, a self-contained flat and a home all in one.

"I'm always in awe of the calibre of projects presented at WAF and Inside, so to have received not just one, but three awards feels pretty surreal. I'm so proud of the work we do at SJB, and I'm incredibly honoured to lead a team that's producing such exciting, forward-thinking projects that are not only beautiful but actively working to solve real-world issues," Haddow said.

19 Waterloo Street was selected by a jury of global design experts comprising Nigel Coates, Nigel Coates Studio; Mark Dytham, Klein Dytham Architects; Ingrid van der Heijden, Civic architects; Friedrich Ludewig, ACME and Anna Xu, Dyson.

SJB's third win at the World Architecture Festival was for their Eucalyptusdom exhibition, awarded in the Temporary/Meanwhile Use category.

Presented at the Powerhouse Museum site in Ultimo in 2021, Eucalyptusdom showcased 400 objects from the museum's collection, in addition to 17 works that were newly commissioned for the event. The exhibition space was designed by SJB in collaboration with Australian Institute of Architects' Gold Medal recipient Richard Leplastrier, and 3D spatial designer Vania Contreras.

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