Joshua Bell



Architecture & High Performance Technology





“How can we provide a platform for identity and ownership in hyper-dense architectural strategies?”

“standardisation is built into our culture, and furthered by manufacturing’s indifference to local factors. . . building should convert the communities view of the world into physical the end there is complete affinity between the individual and the community, between thinking and place” - (Pallasmaa, J. 1982)


Architecture today tends to be focused on making a single statement for a building, rather than expressing the individuality and uniqueness of its occupants. This is especially true in high density housing, where the extrapolation of standardised floorplates and façade leaves the individual with little opportunity to express themselves. This project aims to overcome this, be exploring the critical ways in which buildings can express the identity of both their place, and the people who reside within.

The masterplan seeks to densify and transform a quiet, heritage-dotted block in central Pyrmont. By creating visual attractors through two towers, with active facades, the public are drawn towards two transport nodes at either end of the masterplan. The common garden of the existing terraces has made way for a new urban "mews" full of flexible, polyvalent spaces for public and resident interaction. The heritage elements in this scheme have been integrated and invigorated to revive the historical potency of Pyrmont.

The building itself takes the form of one of the residential towers within the scheme. The design embraces prefabrication as a technological strategy to creatively provide individual expression and adaptable lifestyles at high densities. A hybrid steel and concrete frame provides a permanent structure into which prefabricated wall panels can be inserted, adapted and updated over-time, allowing for occupants to customise their space, creating a dynamic architecture.  Materiality is inspired by mapping the surrounding urban context, tying the building into its locality whilst creating a new archetype and social attractor.