Xin Pei Chong



Architecture & High Performance Technology




How we can create hyperdense architecture inspired by local vernacular that is able to amalgamate both community and place to its design?

Pyrmont is a place filled with the memories of its past, from the urban scars of its sandstone quarries to the heritage buildings of its former industrial life. A typology key to this character is the terrace, built originally as mass housing for local workers, but even today standing out as one of the dominant building types in the area. For many, the terrace house is the ideal home - while being modular, each terrace carries its own individuality, being able to reflect the personality of its occupants through the colour, craft and adaptation of its form and façade over time. 

Taking this as inspiration, this project aims to reinterpret the qualities of the terrace house for a new type of high-rise architecture – responding to Pyrmont’s history and culture, but also the need for high density housing to accommodate the city’s dramatically growing future population. The aim is to overcome the high-rise failings of the past, and create a tall building architecture that is adaptable to future change, customisable to individuals’ preferences, but that also provides communal amenities to facilitate and support the idea of living collectively as a community.

Key to this reinterpretation is harnessing prefabricated technologies. Each unit can be personalised to suit the needs of its occupants, through customisable prefab façade panels. But more than this, the layout of units allows for verandas and balconies to be ‘filled in’, to create additional rooms, thus accommodating growing families. The defensible front garden of the terrace has been reinterpreted to create raised balconies over-looking communal green spaces, providing both protected space, and places for neighbours to interact and socialise. Environmentally, lessons of exposed thermal mass and natural ventilation are gleaned from the vernacular too, and embraced within this high-rise design.