A blog that explores Australian houses. If you love architecture, design, interiors and interesting buildings of all types, The House Hunter is for you.
Category Archives: The Rocks

Sirius Public Housing, The Rocks

 

Don’t pretend you’re not excited to explore Sydney’s most famous concrete blocks. This is a mini-post as it’s challenging to find properties in the holiday wind-down period. I traipsed around one of Sydney’s most arresting architectural sites – the Sirius public housing building at The Rocks. It would be most recognisable to people traveling along the Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t gain access to the building, but a close analysis of its exteriors is justified.
 

Oddly, I can’t find a lot of information about the apartment block – I thought research would yield a plethora of information, but I’ve been disappointed. Concrete does have a neat article on the building that’s worth reading.

 

 

The block, which is a modernist concrete spectacle, is regularly described as an ugly monstrosity by passers-by, in my anecdotal experience. I once would have concurred, but after seeing it so regularly my view has changed – I tend to agree with Concrete‘s characterisation of the block as “a bold and exceptional experiment in low-income public housing” now.
 

Either way, you’ll take notice. Although my capitalist instincts kick in in opposition, it’s difficult to disregard the fact that the block was innovative in public housing design, which is generally unimpressive (Wentworth Street ‘suicide towers’, anyone?). The ground-level units have courtyards and the one, two, three and four level apartments are divided between single storey, split level and multiple levels. The walls and floors are concrete, which you’ll either hate or love, depending on your taste.

 

 

I find the communal areas at the sides of the building interesting – gardens and paved surfaces seemingly calling out for communal activity.
 

It might be an ugly anachronism wasting some of Sydney’s prime real estate, or it might be an interesting study in modernist housing commission projects wedged between Bradfield¬† Highway and the Rocks. What’s your point of view?

 

 

The Reynell Terraces, The Rocks

 

 

Warehouse conversions have always excited me. I think it’s the combination of their rich history and the inevitable industrial tinge – there’s something infinitely appealing to me about the ‘soft industrial’ design style spearheaded by Megan Morton in Home Love. This week’s post is on The Reynell Terraces, so named as they have been built out of a 1913 warehouse known as the Walter Reynell & Sons building at The Rocks.

 

 

 

 

Timber beams are probably the most characteristic aspect of conversions – while strong and structural, they somehow don’t overwhelm converted warehouse spaces (which I find can be a risk with timber). This is probably due to the immense proportions of many formerly industrial spaces – high ceilings and solid columns temper the beams, which become the unifying feature of many converted places.

 

 

 

 

The Kann Finch Group, the architects, have infused modernity into the terraces by decking them out with lavish finishes, including Zimbabwe black granite benchtops, glass balustrades, Miele appliances and Carrara marble.

 

 

 

 

The terraces are strata titled, so they walk the line between house and apartment. That being said, from my knowledge there are very few properties in The Rocks precinct and surrounds that have torrens title.

 

 

 

 

It’s difficult to say too much as the pictures speak for themselves: compellingly pretty, the terraces achieve contemporary luxury while retaining an intriguing link to Sydney’s industrial history. They’re testament to the transformation of The Rocks, which held an entirely different role and demographic at the time that the original building was erected.