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Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Australia Architecture News - Sep 11, 2020 - 19:18   2123 views

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Australian architecture firms Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects have completed the Phoenix Central Park in Chippendale, in inner-city Sydney, the 1,185-square-metre building serves as a gallery and performance space.

The performance space was designed by Durbach Block Jaggers, while the gallery space is designed by John Wardle Architects. 

The performance space is distinguished with a singular bell-like tower, made by stepped and contoured timber ribs, embedded in a fabric of lobbies and circulation.  

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Trevor Mein

On the other hand, the gallery space is a continuation of the tower-like volume with undulating and curvaceous facade that extends across the street. 

The buildings and gardens are linked at many levels, above and below ground, allowing for an intense interlocking of performance, nature and art. 

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Trevor Mein

"The vision of remarkable arts philanthropist Judith Neilson, the building is a partnership of architecture and artistic fields," said the architects. 

"The intention is to have the spaces working together, to have visual arts interwoven with the performing arts. Two architects bring the design together: John Wardle Architects designed the gallery in the east wing and Durbach Block Jaggers designed the performance space."

Like an Elizabethan theatre, the action is in the round, seen from many vantage points. A projecting balcony loops into the volume, creating an alternate stage or viewing box. The circulation is direct or via a gracious set of stepped landings, scaled for arresting movement and inviting overview.

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

The over-scaled gold window allows glimpses and light from the street in an otherwise dark space. The theatre is lined with timber fabricated from digital templates in the factory and assembled on site.  

Above, a meeting space for artists and its companion garden courtyard are modelled in brightness and whiteness, capturing unexpected planting, local vignettes and sky views.

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Tom Ferguson

The outer brick surface is a binding element of the overall building, finding a singular expression to contain the diverse interior worlds within. DBJ’s wall cants, curves and steps for a street garden and multi-figured ‘cloud window.

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Tom Ferguson

The bricks themselves are unusually long and flat, akin to a stacked stone and emphasising the mortar joints. A thin veil of mortar has been washed over the bricks to exaggerate the continuity of surface. This surface is then dimpled, twisted, cut and vaulted around openings where inside and outside worlds meet.

Within the gallery a minimal material palette of concrete and timber provides a setting that art works can engage with. Large flexible spaces are paired with small, intimate and idiosyncratic spaces.

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

The architects said: "The co-authored project has been guided by open discussion by both architectural firms. The project is perhaps a more compelling proposition for the input and insight of the other." 

"This idea seems to echo the primary intention of Phoenix Central Park: to be an artistic hub where visual and performing arts are in constant dialogue with one another."

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Julia Charles

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Gavin Green

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Trevor Mein

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Image © Martin Mischkulnig

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Site plan

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Basement 1 plan

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Ground floor plan

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Level 1 plan

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Level 2 plan

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Section AA

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Section BB

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

Section EE

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

East elevation

Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects create undulating facade for Phoenix Central Park

North elevation

Project facts

Project name: Phoenix Central Park

Architects: Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects

Location: Sydney, Australia

Contractor: Bellevarde Construction; FDC Group

Date: 2020

Top image © Martin Mischkulnig

All images © Martin Mischkulnig, Trevor Mein, Tom Ferguson, Julia Charles, Gavin Green

All drawings © Durbach Block Jaggers and John Wardle Architects

> via Durbach Block Jaggers & John Wardle Architects.