Potts Point Apartment by Anthony Gill Architects won the Residential Design Award jointly with Tusculum Street by Smart Design Studio at the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards.
The site for this project was a thirty-eight-square-metre, one-bedroom apartment in Gemini, a pair of seven-storey apartment buildings designed by Harry Seidler in the 1970s. The apartment was not in its original condition, suffering from an unsympathetic renovation, but the planning had not been altered. The project converts the tight apartment into a larger living space for Anthony Gill’s family, with efficient storage and separation between the sleeping areas. This was achieved by pulling out all the existing joinery and leaving only the masonry walls to the bathroom. A new block of joinery was inserted. This wall of storage separates the child’s bed platform from the main space, while the main bed slides out into the living space from under this platform and the wardrobe block. The project provides an example of high-density urban living for a small family, a typology that is being gradually embraced in Sydney. The design could be easily replicated throughout the building. The fitout is respectful of the original architecture in that the structural space originally created has not been modified. A new element has simply been inserted into the old envelope to enable a different kind of living.
The Potts Point apartment renovation demonstrates an intelligent approach to design for small spaces. Rigorous planning in addition to well-detailed and beautifully executed joinery elements inserted into the apartment delivers a space that provides a rich and flexible canvas for daily family life. Each element works hard to contribute to the livability of the apartment on many levels. Elements multi-task to act as privacy screens, storage and a showcase for family life, as well as contributing colour, texture and warmth to the apartment. This is a humble and welcoming home with the personality of the inhabitants clearly on display. A remarkable outcome for a low-budget renovation, the project provides a unique solution that has style rather than being in style. The Potts Point apartment represents excellence in design – accessible to all, it demonstrates how clever design on a modest budget can enhance the quality of spaces used in our everyday life.