LocationSydney NSW, Australia
From the architect. Most on-site property sales offices are pragmatic structures that sit alone, often uncomfortably, on large tracts of land: temporary, prosaic and utilitarian beasts, there to serve a short term purpose, and no more.
This site and sales office on a former dairy farm, designed by Sydney-based architecture practice THOSE Architects for their client Stockland is the opposite. Conceived as a ‘building in a landscape’ it is a tactile piece of architecture in its own right: a building that is uniquely of its place, designed to heighten the visitor’s experience of that place and convey a sense of the community that will eventually reside there. And unlike most sales and site offices, it has a longer life: it will remain as a cafe and meeting place when the new residents move in.
The Dairy project is underpinned by THOSE Architects’ ideas about the way people relate to buildings and landscape: how the architecture moves them into a built space, then through the space, and how it connects them to the landscape beyond.
“We see this as a discrete work of architecture, designed to inform the potential purchaser about the place where they may live, and how it might feel to live there,” said Ben Mitchell, director of THOSE Architects. “It’s all about the architecture. So, for example, unlike most sales offices, it has no signage, and is carefully calibrated to covey an experience of its place.”
THOSE Architects’ brief was to achieve this on a super-shoestring budget, so they focused on finding ways to use modest materials in a powerful way, to heighten the experience of what it feels like to be in this lush, flat former dairy pasture landscape.
The circulation sequence through and around the building is carefully curated in order to create moments of tension and relief, camouflage and revelation, intimacy interspersed with long vistas.
With the main view from the building situated to the North-West (over dairyland to the Blue Mountains beyond) the building is approached from the South-East via a honed concrete ramp which intersects lush pasture. An imposing black timber wall is punctuated by two openings, one of which is lined with copper cladding to define the entry point.