As architect Peter Israel designed Golf House, a boutique luxury apartment block in Surry Hills, he kept one concept front of mind: the idea of home.
Taking a seat in the development’s display suite while fashion designer Collette Dinnigan, who shaped the interior design, supervises a photo shoot of her handiwork, Israel describes the elements that help create a feeling of home.
“I’m interested in the emotional, intellectual and spiritual impact of materials and how they are combined,” says Israel, whose practice, PTI Architecture, developed the striking look of the 46-apartment, seven-storey complex named after the golf shop that stood on the site for decades. Many Sydneysiders will remember the iconic animated neon sign that crowned the roof of the shop, once Sydney’s premier golf store. When pro golfer Lindsay Sharp bought the business in 1985, the sign changed to read Sharpies Golf House. The 1950s neon sign is now part of the Powerhouse Museum collection.
Israel describes the property as an “artisan-created building” that is “not like traditional new apartments on the market”. “There’s an integrity to what we’ve tried to do in this project and that’s been carried through to the last detail with a lot of meticulous work,” he says. “There’s an emphasis on handmade products. The floors are real timber boards – it’s not machine-made timber. The kitchen cupboards are hand-painted rather than using that commonly used two-pack-poly finish. It’s the reason we used the copper as well.”
He’s referring to Golf House’s eye-catching exterior, which blends dark brickwork and warm timber with the “excitement” of intricate copper detailing that will acquire a patina over time. “The copper will be a very strong feature – it comes out of the industrial language of Surry Hills,” says Israel. “The copper is a bit of excitement, a bit of fire – it’ll be quite striking. There’s character in the area and we’re creating a building that has character – that’s the spirit of the building.”
Surry Hills itself has been a major source of inspiration for Israel. “Surry Hills has such character now – it’s a great part of Sydney,” he says. “As a place to live, it’s got a lot of heart and soul.” He also thinks Dinnigan’s involvement is apt, given that Surry Hills is the traditional heart of Sydney’s rag trade.
“To me, if you can combine the excitement of Surry Hills with having a place of peace and tranquillity [to come home to], you’ve got the basis for living in the midst of the city, which is not so simple,” he says. “That struck a chord with all of us – we’re all focused on creating a home.”
It was also important that Golf House fosters its own sense of community. All residents can use the rooftop terrace, for instance, as though it’s their own backyard. “Creating a community within a community is an important thing,” says Israel, acknowledging that the rooftop will become an important place for neighbours to meet and connect. “When you have the opportunity to have a north-facing sundeck with nice chairs and tables and plantings, I’m sure it will be well used,” he says. “I would use it! People want to connect. That’s also why, on the ground floor, there’s a nice bar/restaurant – that’s an extension [of the community concept].”
Golf House’s long history as a landmark building in the neighbourhood will also be acknowledged in the design. “We are going to celebrate the Golf House sign, which people love,” says Israel. “We intend to do an interpretation study in the lobby and also something on the outside of the building. The link will be there, the history will be there.”
For more information visit www.thegolfhouse.com.au or call Savills Residential Projects on 1800 959 833.