Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects


Lacebark is a gateway building to a new precinct in Sydney’s Hills Shire, to be known as Norwest Quarter. It is one of nine towers that make up the bold residential masterplan that sees the transformation of over 3.8 hectares of greenfield land into a carbon neutral hub for over 2000 residents. The elegantly sculpted building is predominantly brick, drawing reference from the site’s former life as a tile and brick manufacturing plant. It’s split down its length into two distinct slender parallel forms connected by a central corridor, providing natural light and cross ventilation to common areas. These parallel forms slide in opposite north-south directions, reducing the building mass. Two circular drums nestled into the tower signal the entry to the precinct. Hit and miss brickwork forms a skin to the upper level, providing a textural response and allowing dappled light to the residential amenities within. Curved glazing below allows maximum visibility to the retail spaces.



Bold angled blades rise vertically up the tower form, articulating the façade whilst managing views, privacy and the sun. At the top, these blades terminate in a series of connected concave roof forms which reach up to the sky. Generous perimeter balconies with solid horizontal balustrades provide repetition and modulation through contrast of light and shade; their curved concave shapes creating a sculptural expression whilst inviting northern sun. Tactile materials have been selected to connect the building to a more domestic scale.  White brick reduces the reading of the building’s bulk and scale and creates clarity as a singular sculptural form. Glazing frames are dark and recessive against the white brick, and red Porphyry stone to the building base and paving imbues warmth and earthiness.

Forms and finishes internally also allude to the site’s rich heritage. Natural, local and handcrafted materials have been selected while solid blocks as if carved from clay make up the joinery. Colour blocking is used to emphasize the stacking of these solid blocks punctuated by lined recesses that reference the horizontal and vertical detail of the exterior. Soft and earthy gradient tones and warm metals complete the picture. Spatial planning was driven by an emphasis on creating a connection to the naturally abundant site. The main living spaces enjoy the best of the curated views, with a hierarchical approach to spaces stepping down to the master suites, secondary bedrooms and primary and secondary bathrooms. Seamless finishes and integrated services create a quiet backdrop for the deliberately framed outlook.

Lacebark is an exemplar of a zero-carbon precinct putting back into the environment, society, and the economy through passive design initiatives, advanced technologies, and self-sufficiency. Sustainable principles include high performance glazing and insulation, rooftop PV panels, rainwater harvesting and non-potable reuse, and electric vehicle charging and car share. The building is predominantly brick which is a natural and durable material that can be reused.  In addition, water efficient fixtures and fittings, non-toxic & low VOC interior finishes and gas-free energy-efficient appliances have been integrated. Facades invite winter sun to penetrate whilst blocking summer sun, and the design maximises cross ventilation and northern light to as many apartments as possible. As a result, the apartments consume two-thirds less energy than a typical code-compliant apartment.


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