Urbanest, Allen Jack + Cottier

Urbanest Darling Square One+Two is a 1,300-bed student housing community made up of two towers, between the old warehouse district of Ultimo to the west and the new Darling Square precinct and Sydney Harbour to the east. The buildings form a transition between these adjacent precincts and drew inspiration from them. The eastern facades are inspired by the play of light on the harbour with subtly angled panels that shine and cast dynamic shadows as the sun tracks over the façade. The subtle reflections of sky and surroundings on the angled panels redouble the colour palette to create a shimmering effect reminiscent of light reflecting off water. The western facades are inspired by the colour, pattern and mass of the old brick warehouses. The dense pattern of windows characteristic of student housing has been manipulated using the varying window sizes to create a dynamic effect when viewed from different angles, which is enhanced by the mix of colours to apparently recess and draw forward different sections of the facade. Deep set windows with steeply sloping sills create a play of light and shade throughout the day. We envisaged a place for young people, a place that is fun and fosters learning, creativity and friendship. The residents will be living away from their family– and even their home country – for the first time in their lives, thus warm, natural tones are used in the bedrooms to create a home-like feel while a lively, colourful palette is used in the common areas.