The Canvas Factory

Gadi Country / Alexandria, NSW

We were invited to participate in a competition to design The Canvas Factory, a mixed-use residential development.

Four themes informed our approach: context, community, activation and diversity. The result is two buildings pulled apart atop a podium level and connected by the main access stair and lift. The taller apartment building addresses the more developed Mitchell Road, whilst the lower terrace-style structure addresses the finer grain, but still dense urban environment, along Belmont Lane.

A courtyard encourages communal activity, where one might sit for a quiet conversation or a cup of tea in the sun. Functioning like an active laneway with passive surveillance and direct connection to apartments, there is life and connection when not in use. The landscape generated on the site encourages a diversity of non-human occupants to stop by or take up residence within a protected landscape setting, and provides outlook and buffer to Belmont Lane for human occupants. Window boxes provide connection to the internal landscaped courtyard.

In reference to the building’s previous use, the primary façade is conceived as a billowing brick canvas woven into the fabric of Mitchell Road. Brick walls bend and fray to add depth and provide solidity and privacy to the apartments within, whilst allowing for directed views and connections to the street. Glazed bricks above the ground floor maintain the datum of the original building and fan out to expand it. Above the apartment entry an arch in relief is a playful reference to the rendered arches of the existing building and its immediate neighbour. This material character is continued in the rear lane where a more restrained form responds to the terrace typology within this part of Alexandria. A stronger vertical language and pitched roof settle the building into the lower scale context to the rear.

Project Team

Sam Crawford, Jarad Grice, Jordon Blanket, Justine Anderson, Mackenzie Nix, Charly Watson, Jacqui Singer, Justin Pak