Street View



Woollahra Terrace Houses, NSW




Willem Reithmeier




Australian Institute of Architects NSW
Multiple Housing Award
Woollahra Conservation Award

A rare opportunity presented a vacant 1800 sqm, triangular site in the middle of a heritage conservation area in Sydney. The brief developed for a terrace of six new townhouses and an art gallery-café at the pointy end of the triangle. The two long sides of the triangle fronted two roads of very different character; one a semi commercial higher traffic throughway, and the other a quiet tree lined gentrified residential street.

Each of the houses (and the gallery-cafe) had two street frontages, each addressing very different environments. On the quiet street frontage, the site adjoined a long terrace of 19th century Victorian houses, which needed to be respected in scale, form and materiality, while on the other frontage the context was more vigorous, including a dominating brutal 8-storey, 1970s apartment block.

The challenge was to develop a design which moved progressively from the 18th century Victorian houses context, towards the pointy end gallery-cafe, and around the sharp corner and back along the harsher street context. Each of the new buildings would need to engage with two very different contexts yet must of course read without discord. The gentrified street frontage suited two-storey pedestrian scale in accord with its old neighbours, while fortuitously the other frontage offered three stories, vehicle entry, and small commercial frontages to three of the six houses.