The Eliza proposed luxury apartments in Sydney

Tony Owens Partners will soon begin construction on a new apartment building in Sydney, Australia.

The first thing I thought when I saw this was Antoni Gaudi.  The organic curves of the facade are reminiscent of the Casa Batllo in Barcelona, but on a much taller and simplified scale.

The first thing I’ll say about the building is that I generally like it, but have a few issues.  it appears to have first floor retail uses, which I would prefer to simply a large lobby.  I also find it interesting that the first story seems to maintain a cornice line with the surrounding buildings, which gets lost at higher levels.  In my opinion, the building is too tall.  Christopher Alexander argues that residential buildings should never be built above four stories, because it divorces them from the life on the street.  It is understandable that the people on the top of this tower may be more concerned about privacy, views and luxury than interaction with people on the street, but Alexander argues that this probably isn’t good for them in the long run.  The height also makes the building out of scale with its neighbors.  The last thing I’m opposed to is the sort of nihilistic arrangement of windows on the secondary facade.  This pattern recalls buildings as old as Le Corbusier‘s Notre Dame du Haut and as recent as Jean Nouvel‘s 100 11th Avenue in New York, and the pattern is just as bad in those buildings.  The universe is essentially orderly, and this faked disorder is simply jarring and unnatural.

All in all, an interesting and attractive building with some very basic weaknesses.  I would make it shorter and arrange the windows on the secondary facade in an orderly fashion.


About Dave Munson
This blog is about architecture, cities, and myself.

One Response to The Eliza proposed luxury apartments in Sydney

  1. tony owen says:

    You are right, Gaudi was forefront in my mind. It just seemed right for all the other issues going on with the site. Climbing Sagrada Familia is one of my fondest memories.

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