From the architect:
The history of Surry Hills is one of constant change, adaptation and renewal. Set on a postage stamp-sized site, 52 Reservoir responds to this legacy with a fine-grained response to the surrounding streetscape that breathes new life into an overlooked part of the suburb. Built almost entirely during Sydney’s lockdown, this cheery commercial building offers ground floor retail outlets, eight levels of boutique office space with landscaped courtyards and a roof terrace that provides an oasis of green space in a dense urban environment.
For developer Michael Grant of Cornerstone Property Group, the most important step in SJB’s winning plan was ‘the introduction of the canyon. This has allowed light to be delivered on three sides of the building and has also provided many other urban benefits.”
Equally prominent is the project’s aquamarine facade, sculpted from custom glazed bricks, confidently announcing its presence on Reservoir Street. As the building rises to meet its neighbours’ parapets, it steps back to reveal a gently scalloped exposed concrete structure.
A new avenue formed between 52 Reservoir and its western neighbor connects Reservoir and Foster Streets for the first time since the early 1900s. Floating above the new through-connection is a ephemeral installation of large-format glass panels by artist Marisa Purcell, evoking a canopy of dappled light and shadow over the passageway. In the center of the avenue, an immersive wooden lobby space welcomes visitors into the building – a beacon between the adjacent concrete spaces.
“We wanted to create warehouse quality in a contemporary fabric,” explains Adam Haddow, president of SJB. “We punched large windows through the facade so the building breathes and worked hard to make it simple, column-free spaces with amenities all set in the side spine so there’s no clutter. There is a calm and serenity in the spaces that will be great to work in.”
If the site is a microcosm of Surry Hills, 52 Reservoir Street will add a new commercial layer befitting the post-Covid era with its “simple vision to change the way people live and work,” says Michael Grant. “I think it would be a great pleasure to come and work in this building every day, as the building reveals itself in many different ways during the day.”