Did you know that the Horizon Apartments in Sydney by architect Harry Seidler includes two low-rise buildings, pool, tennis court, underground carpark and beautiful landscaping as well as the iconic tower? This was one of the many new things I learnt about the project on a tour organised by Sydney Living Museums.
Horizon Apartments is located in the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst surrounded by suburban housing and next to SCEGGS school. The site itself had previously been the location of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABC) Sydney office. Seidler’s intention was to create a tower that makes the most of incredible views to the harbour and city with a tall, slender tower that covers only one third of the block. The rest of the site is made of up two low-rise apartment buildings, while a beautifully landscaped garden, pool and tennis court provide serene grounds above an underground carpark. The building was originally designed in 1990 or 1991, with the building completed and tenants in residence in 1998.
As with all Seidler buildings, the floor plan is unusual – the Horizon apartment tower floor plan is a shaped a bit like a fan, with lift core in the centre. One of the ingenious things about the design is the distinctive balcony shape which undulates like a wave up the building – what Seidler called “a staggering scintillation” made of “curvilinear shapes”. This was achieved by alternating the balcony shape every second floor, a simple solution that provides a unique effect. The placement of the living rooms and the bedrooms was also swapped on each floor giving purchasers the option of varied outlooks from different rooms.
The building went up in less than a week per floor. Pre-stressed concrete was used, reinforced not only with steel mesh, but also with high tensile steel wire. This construction technique is what allowed Seidler to create the shapes required.
Seidler saw the building as representing the future of high rise living, not just because of its architecture, but also because of its location. Seidler predicted that in the future we will be forced to look in each others’ windows in high rises in the city. This, on the other hand, provides uninterrupted views of Sydney harbour in the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst – and what a view.
More on Sydney Living Museums (who generously provided two free tickets to the tour – thanks!)
Visit Seidler’s website here.
All photos taken by Penny Craswell and Chris Falzon.