The Col James Student Accommodation in Sydney’s Redfern has been celebrated with an Australian Good Design Award, which recognises excellence in design and innovation across a broad range of categories.
The project, designed by Turner for clients Aboriginal Housing Company, Deicorp and Scape, is located in a culturally significant precinct. The area, previously known as ‘The Block’, has long been a meeting place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The building is now part of the new Pemulwuy Precinct, which features affordable housing, community gym, kindergarten and workplace spaces.
Turner Director Dan Szwaj says the goal was to honour the Aboriginal Housing Company’s brief and create an open, residential precinct that retains and celebrates Aboriginal culture.
A complex and sensitive project.
"We approached this project with extreme sensitivity. For us, this was not just about the architecture." says Dan.
“It was about creating community. Our design creates a sense of ‘the backyard’, that can be found in pockets around the building and in the communal rooftop garden.”
Turner collaborated with architect Scott Carver and Indigenous artist Danny Eastwood to integrate public art into the building – featured on the street edge, the soffit to the entry and across the building’s façade.
The building rests on an incredibly unique, triangular site. Internally, there are 519 rooms ranging from studios to twin-share and clusters that accommodate five students, each with their own rooms but shared facilities. Colour features strongly throughout, with vibrant colours that celebrate the original flora once endemic to the site and our country.
The Good Design Awards jury said Turner deserves great praise for their highly innovative design.
“Successfully responds to Redfern’s rich urban conditions, past and present.”
Good Design Awards Jury
Centrally located to world-class transport and education centres.
The site was specifically selected to ensure that more students could live within walking distance to tertiary education centres and have public transport access to the broader city within 100m of the front door.
To encourage walking, Turner purposefully removed all car parking spaces on site, instead providing more than 184 bike parking and end of trip facilities including a student ‘bike share’ programme.
The accommodation is for all students, with specific accommodation allotted to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The project was named in honour of the late Col James – an architect and Sydney University lecturer dedicated to creating and improving Aboriginal housing. Col was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994 for his services to architecture and the community. He received a University of Sydney Alumni Award for his work with Aboriginal groups and the disadvantaged.
The awards were announced at an event at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 16 September.