Bondi is not exactly Mayfair in London. But apartments in Campbell Parade, overlooking Bondi Beach, certainly command similar, if not higher prices per square metre. The Mayfair Apartments were originally designed in 1938 by architect P. Gordon Craig in a loosely Art Deco style and similar liver brick-coloured apartments are dotted throughout this highly coveted environ. Built in the interwar years when architectural detailing was often stripped back, the four-level building, with its flat façade, came with a few additional surprises, including central relief also in brick that gave it a little more presence. Being set back from the pavement by 1300 millimetres, with a raised garden bed, also distinguishes it from the neighbouring interwar buildings.
Although this fairly unremarkable façade, with its flat timber-framed windows, wasn’t an ideal starting point for MHN Design Union, it did offer the opportunity to build on the past – something that is pivotal for Waverley Council which is responsible for developments in this precinct. So, what were fairly underwhelming smallish-sized apartments that barely paid a nod to one of Sydney’s most inspiring coastal views, will be completely transformed into seven luxury apartments. MHN Design Union will not only gut the building, but also create balconies at the front. However, rather than simply appearing as separate entities, these brick balconies with their steel balustrades, will appear integral as an integral element of the original design. Complete with staggered and corbelled brickwork (often referred to as ‘soldier’ brickwork) framing each of the apartments, this design aspect creates a striking and contemporary edge – with generous terraces for each apartment to benefit from alfresco dining – with the open plan kitchen, dining and living areas leading to these terraces.
To make the numbers ‘stack up’ for the developer, Essex Developments, the architects have included a penthouse, clad in black zinc to make it recessive from the boulevard. Unlike the neighbouring interwar buildings that feature shops or a café at ground level, the decision was made for the Mayfair Apartments to only include apartments – with the two ground- floor apartments benefiting from being set back from the pavement, slightly raised above it and designed with steel battened fences to create a demarcation line. The original front door to the apartments was also repositioned to allow for greater symmetry, a feature that’s often seen in the Art Deco period. Even on the lower two levels, each one comprising two apartments, there’s a sense of generosity. All have large open plan living areas, three bedrooms and multiple bathrooms. Those apartments on levels three and four, as well as the penthouse feature two living areas and amenities normally seen in a substantial detached home in the suburbs – such as butler’s kitchens and, in the case of the penthouse, a spa pool as well as a large terrace for entertaining. Separate home offices rather than study nooks can also be found.
MHN Design Union gave as much attention to the way the building’s rear elevation was designed as to its more prominent street address. Here, new rounded edged brick cantilevered balconies were created with a core lift area clad in black zinc to strengthen the connection to the treatment of the penthouse. And given the market for these top end apartments, off-street car parking was paramount. The scheme includes basement car parking spread over two levels (two spaces for each apartment accessed via a car lift) and the penthouse benefits from a secured garage at ground level) – accessed from Lamrock Place. There’s even a turnplate included for the cars.
While the market for these apartments is anticipated to be downsizers, given the size of the dwellings which are more akin to houses, it’s more than likely that families will also be attracted to living here. And, as one would expect, the level of finishes within will be as exemplary, including marble kitchens and bathrooms, and timber floors – with the floors being a perfect finish even for sandy feet.
Location Bondi Year In Progress