Reclaimed materials form a “playful” façade at 19 Waterloo Street

Reclaimed materials form a “playful” façade at 19 Waterloo Street

A staggered arrangement of windows and patterned brick sections forms the facade of 19 Waterloo Street, a house added by Australian studio SJB to a small site in Sydney.

The building, which also contains a shop and a self-contained apartment, was designed by SJB to replace a damaged structure on the compact site in the Surry Hills suburb.

It was shortlisted for the Urban Home category of the Dezeen 2o23 Awards.

Exterior view of 19 Waterloo Street in Sydney
SJB designed a reclaimed and reclaimed brick facade for 19 Waterloo Street

Inspired by the playful homes featured in French director Jacques Tati’s films, 19 Waterloo Street features a patchwork-like facade made of reclaimed materials and broken brick.

“Given the small footprint of the project, I wanted to draw on my university thesis project which investigated the extension and manipulation of space through film,” studio director Adam Haddow told Dezeen.

“The house tries to do that – to make spaces seem larger than they are, by borrowing space and tricking your mind.”

Exterior of the mixed-use SJB project in Sydney
The house refers to the playful houses in Jacques Tati’s films

The light bricks are cut into a range of lengths in elegant formations across the street-facing facade, framing a series of uniquely shaped windows.

Towards the bottom of the wall, there is an L-shaped portion clad in broken and reclaimed brick, which is intended to resemble the sandstone bases of adjacent historic buildings.

Brickwork facade of a Sydney house
There is a semicircular entrance

Red accents including awnings, balustrades and plantings also appear across the facade, along with a cast bronze semicircular portal with twisted bars. The gate was designed by artist Mika Utzon Popov to serve as a playful entrance to 19 Waterloo Street.

“Externally, the house is playful and textural – embodying the motives and materiality of the surrounding suburb,” explained SJB. “It looks a bit like a house from a Jacques Tati film, the façade feels lively and personal.”

Lower ground entrance to 19 Waterloo Street in Sydney by SJB
The house also has a shop and an independent apartment

“We wanted our home to draw from the suburb’s building heritage, with punched openings and delicate brick details,” Haddow added. “We wanted there to be joy and cheer.”

Behind the front gate, a screen of dark wood beams separates the compact entrance hall from the retail space, which spreads across the front of the ground floor.

A self-contained apartment consisting of living and bedroom spaces located above the retail area, with an additional bedroom located down a series of steps behind the store.

Throughout the apartment, rich colors are paired with tile floors and playful accents including mirrored kitchen countertops and mustard-yellow furnishings.

Interior view of house in Sydney
The interior features tiled floors and brightly colored furniture

The main house is located in a building at the rear of 19 Waterloo Street. Spanning 30 square metres, the house is arranged around a central staircase and separated from the rest of the building by a plant-filled courtyard.

Throughout the house are more neutral spaces of varying heights, including low-ceiling storage spaces and bathrooms as well as spacious living spaces and bedrooms.

Pale kitchen with wooden ceiling
The block at the rear of the site contains the main house

Other Sydney housing projects recently featured on Dezeen include a steel and stone house built on either side of a garden and a U-shaped home extension built partly from recycled materials.

Photography by Anson Smart.

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