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Pushing the possibilities of public housing

The homes designed by Tony Owen Partners are always interesting, always unique and are usually likely to spark an aspirational desire to live somewhere better.

Pushing the possibilities of public housing

The Rachel Foster Building, photography by Andrew Loiterton.

Signatured by amorphic design, Tony Owen Partners’ curved and undulating facades house interiors where the curve continues. Stating that his is a proactive and inclusive approach toward a realisable architecture that challenges the norm, he has long been an advocate for pushing the boundaries.

“Time and again, really good design has the power to capture people’s imaginations and create momentum. Strong design gives assurance that there will be a good result,” says Tony Owen of Tony Owen Partners.

Tony Owen Partners for Public Housing

His latest project, comprising 260 apartments distributed across four buildings in the heart of Redfern, continues to challenge perceptions. Here, the project located and named for the site of the Rachel Foster Hospital is very quietly, very discretely public housing.

“We were conscious that as public housing, it still needed to present the highest level of design and quality,” says Owen. To this end, the spatial configuration of the original hospital of four early modernist buildings has been retained. As has an original circular garden forecourt, the main building and colonnade of a second building have been incorporated into the new scheme.

Tony Owen Partners for Public Housing

Exploring the original design language, Owen has given the apartments a modernist, almost P&O aesthetic that touches on the building’s historical scope. Moreover, the combination of materials and finishes imbues the project with interest, while the curves add a sculptural quality. The timber inlays and screens are particularly considered, with each playing a part in a much larger visual design.

Creating opportunities for social interaction has been a key driver, and for this project, a network of discrete public spaces has been realised towards this end. “By juxtaposing the existing fabric with new plazas, concrete walls, planters and greenspace, we could provide a rich and textured environment for social interaction,” says Owen.

Tony Owen Partners

Andrew Loiterton from AJL Photography

Tony Owen Partners for Public Housing
Tony Owen Partners for Public Housing

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