Carter Williamson Architects

Bayside Design Excellence Competition

San-Souci, 2018

Carter Williamson particupated in an invited Design Excellence Competition for a mixed-use development in San-Souci.


Brighton-Le-Sands was the great seaside escape from a young Sydney town. So much so it reminded the early Sydneysiders of Brighton England. Holiday houses, public swimming baths, a picnic area, a racecourse, and a grand hotel. Thomas Saywell had a vision for the area and drove that, literally, with the light rail opening up the area for those wanting to escape.

Saywell built on his dream with the hotel, and then the terraces next door. Brighton-Le-Sands was popular for holidaymakers or weekend getaway-ers, and also gamblers looking for a cool escape on a hot day.

Through the Bayside Design Competition, Carter Williamson sought to return considerate, thoughtful design to Brighton-Le-Sands through our proposed development.

Corner buildings need to hold and frame the intersecting streets. Buildings that sit on the edge of the urban grid need to also hold and define that edge. Approved to 36m, and adjacent to the 14 storey Novotel building we felt the Saywell Apartments needed to hold, define and bookend the street, the corner, and edge and the bookend.

The Terraces offer the great opportunity to provide a friendly, known and welcoming face to the street. But also, to act as a solid buffer to the intensity of the traffic and noise from the Grand Parade. We conceptualised the Terraces as being part of a commercial podium that defined the building, with residential towers sitting above.

The heritage wall also offered the opportunity to shelter the building from the noise of the grand parade, opening up more the further you moved away from it. We held the commercial walls off the wall for a green curtilage and heritage appreciate for the shop fronts. Folding away the façade to open the café to deep soil planting ana d pocket park at the end of Princess Lane.

Deecarve-outsts in the middle of the building allow the building to “lean-out” to receive light and the view for the rear apartments. This helps the building exceed SEPP compliance for solar access and cross ventilation whilst providing a high degree of amenity to the circulation areas with windows to the north, south and west.

The open faces of the building; the parts that look to Botany Bay (south-east) are released from the protective sandy brick sheath opening generously to receive the view. These faces are treated materially different. With the carve out or cut off faces being like the inner material then exposed.

The gift of the site is the Saywell Terraces anchor the site, presenting a detailed, beautiful and open face to the Grand Parade. How they address the street is good urban design. They also offer an immediate connection to context and neighbourhood.

The Terraces also provide a noise buffer for the residential apartments behind. Being commercial & retail tenancies supports this idea.

The site is a street concern and on an urban edge. It bookends the largest development in the area of the Novotel. We support the height of the Planning Proposal as it gives it the potential to bookend both sides of the street, and strong frame the edge of the urban grid.

Another gift of the site is it has three street frontages. We felt it was important for the building to hold and address all frontages, with a strong activation strategy. We have activated Princess street with a clever heritage strategy allowing the wall to stay but folding it down as pavement in parts to open up the retail spaces to activity.