SODA Apartments

Name

SODA Apartments

Location

Lindsay Street, Northbridge

Architects

Gresley Abas

Completion Date

2015 (4 year project duration)

Key People

Ahmad Abas,  Alex Quin, Miriam J Price,  John Pham

The SODA Apartments represent the outcome of an ideal relationship between architect, builder and developer. A shared enlightened attitude towards the delivery of inner city dwellings within an existing heritage building shell, SODA apartments culminates in a 13-unit apartment building over 4 storeys.

85% of the dwellings have a northerly orientation and all dwellings have cross-ventilation. Apartment sizes range from 52 to 140 SQM. Unique solutions were developed throughout the overall design to optimise the ability to deliver small yet cleverly resolved spatial challenges.The tight site configuration resulted in unusual apartment configurations; for example: 2-storey maisonettes were designed with living areas elevated to the upper floor for northerly access to the living areas and outdoor terraces, whilst bedrooms are located below with unique 'periscope' windows designed to overcome issues of acoustics, fire protection, privacy &security.

The spatial solutions for this development emerged out of an enlightened willingness to challenge the typical apartment production delivered by most developers today. The client/builder/developer demonstrated the willingness and the courage to challenge the market and deliver something beyond ordinary.

What inspired the design? Where do you look for inspiration?

Inspiration is not quite the right word. The building was not designed to emulate anything else in particular. The design of Soda emerged out of a process of solving a puzzle that allowed us to deliver a viable number of compact yet well designed spaces with good solar orientation , privacy, cross ventilation, amenity , interest and ‘generosity’ despite ‘smallness’. Another key driver was to express the new upper floors of the building as a monolithic element ‘emerging’ out of the shell of the original brick warehouse.

What were some of the key materials?

There is nothing necessarily remarkable about the materials for this project: the palette for us to respond to was the existing heritage fabric of the original warehouse. The ‘key’ is more about how we assemble and juxtapose everyday materials so that something different seems to be happening. When in fact, we are really crafting the building with steel, timber, ceramics, concrete, bricks, plaster and glass just like everyone else.

What is special about this project?

The ability to work directly with builder/developer/owner as a collaborator with a shared open mind towards the quality and intent behind the outcome.

All images by Dion Robeson.