Emblem Apartments: Waterloo

Once a bustling hub of industry, including glassworks, tanneries and rope-makers, Sydney’s Waterloo, like so many inner-city suburbs world-wide, has been experiencing a process of gentrification given its location only 3km from the CBD. It is also close to Sydney airport, beaches and universities, with the Sydney Morning Herald recently dubbing it the “10 minutes from everywhere suburb”.

With heavy industry long-gone it has evolved to become a desirable location to live, offering a rising business district where many old industrial buildings have been transformed to contemporary commercial spaces, cafes and studios for creative industries and technology-oriented firms.

The development of more green space such as public parks, has been another part of this process and one such park is Wulaba Park, an expansive green space which boasts one of Sydney’s best children’s playgrounds and is the central focus of a trio of new apartment buildings which form the “Emblem” development.

The most recent of these to be completed is the most compact, with only 38 apartments, yet makes a big statement architecturally.

Award-winning Sydney architects Chenchow Little have been applauded for the way this building integrates clever design details including a roof-top garden canopy, that marry this city slicker with its lush parkland setting.  This is also achieved through a natural material palette which includes Spotted Gum detailing on each floor’s generous wrap-around balconies. Because it is used on the balcony ceilings, anyone viewing the building from the ground below can see the timber ceilings and it provides an added warmth to the building’s exterior.

Austral Plywoods’ Connectaply in “Spotted Gum” was used for the ceilings, soffits and lift well areas. The product is certified for chain of custody sustainability by Responsible Wood which means it can add proven environmental sustainability to its other benefits which include quick installation, light weight and high quality.

“Responsible Wood certification is pivotal to our manufacturing business as it not only shows our customers that we follow the right standards from start to finish, it goes hand in hand with the Austral Plywoods’ ethos.  As an Australian manufacturer sourcing logs from plantation resources here in Queensland and being one of the few mills left in Australia, having the correct certification is vital.  This is one of the many reasons our product was selected for a project like the Emblem Apartments.” Explains Austral Plywoods’ National Sales and Marketing Manager, Lizan Yee.

The advantage for architects in specifying timber with Responsible Wood certification means they are assured of the product’s environmental sustainability by an independent third party and in the case of this project, which aims to, in the words of architects Chenchow Little; “visually extend the look and feel of the park and landscape into the building” extends that connection with the natural environment beyond being purely “skin deep”.