Glebe Harbour, Blackwattle BayGlebe NSW Australia
Situated on the edge of Sydney Harbor with views across Blackwattle Bay towards Anzac Bridge, the former Fletcher container site is an exercise in reintegration. The challenge of this project has been to reinstate a street pattern, building grain and open space footprint that represents the small scale breakup and seemingly haphazard nature of the existing Glebe environment and its connection to the harbour. The project aims to address and take advantage of the site’s opportunities and turn this forgotten pocket back into part of the suburb.
The site has been defined into parts so as to respond to both the development criteria and the surrounding urban and community context. Inclusive of 136 apartments, the site’s components range from the small scale terrace housing that exists as an extension of the surrounding street network, to larger apartment buildings which balance the development equation. The introduction of increased density models will ensure a critical mass of people who will populate the public outdoor space.
The urban structure of the project responds to the localised conditions of the site and its immediate context, and broader issues of a more ‘city’ nature. The public domain of the project consists of three parts; a riparian landscape aiming to re-establish a scale of growth reflective of a pre-settlement environment, simple outdoor playing turf which will encourage passive and active family recreation, and the interpretation and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings and landscape capturing a unique and important part of the history of the city.
The project sees the extension of the harbour foreshore walk, carefully and anonymously connecting into a pre-established framework and master plan. The materiality of the public domain is simple and robust, reflective of the sites pre-settlement context and the later industrial nature of the site.
The architecture of Glebe Harbour borrows cues from both the surrounding Victorian terrace houses and the typology of the shipping containers that once lined this shore. The rhythm of the terrace house boundary walls have been continued down the hill, offering scale to the redevelopment while visually tying it into the surrounding built fabric. This tectonic element helps to reduce the overall scale of the project ensuring that the buildings are presented as discrete residential addresses.
Materially the buildings use sample natural finishes, copper, zinc and sandstone to accentuate their public edges. These materials age naturally and lend the project a patina allowing it to nestle amongst the foreshore angophoras. The architecture of Glebe Harbour is a backdrop for the activity of the foreshore parkland that constitutes almost half of the site area. This parkland is accentuated by the small heritage building – the former incinerator, and two long pergolas – the former rubbish sorting sheds.