Standing amongst the tree-lined streets of terrace-filled Chippendale, you may have passed Indigo Slam before. It’s façade, a combination of intelligent design and aesthetic ingenuity, the entire build took four years from start to completion and was a project inspired by art and produced for function: a sculpture for living in.
William says of the building:
The concrete façade of Indigo Slam is alive to the changes wrought by light, shade, sun, and cloud. Behind it are serene living spaces, and monumental halls create a dynamic spatial interplay of sparse interiors in which the main decorative element is light.
Approaching from O’Connor Street, a patterned steel screen opens to lead the visitor into a generous coved vestibule. From here, the space compresses to a low and narrow corridor before suddenly opening to a cavernous stair hall lit from concealed roof lights overhead. This room is a space unique in Australian residential architecture – grand and austere in its size and sparseness, but inviting and exciting as it leads one upwards through the building. As a counterpoint to this dramatic spatial sequence, the living areas leading off it are informal and intimate. Bedroom suites occupy the first floor, overlooking the public park to the north. The curves and planes of the façade here act as screens to provide privacy and shade for the occupants. On the second floor, sitting and dining rooms overlook the park. A sky-lit kitchen and study look back into the building, creating views across the stair hall.
The brief was for Indigo Slam to last 100 years. Materials are selected to wear and endure and fittings to last, with operable elements mechanically rather than digitally operated. These include oversized vertical timber blinds that turn and retract by employing hanging chains and awning windows operated by geared winders. The brass armatures for these moving parts lend a finely grained detail to the interior and to the steel, glass, and concrete of the building façade. The project aspires to an exemplary level of environmentally sustainable design with natural lighting, cross-ventilation, rainwater harvesting, and adherence to passive solar design principles, reducing the energy and water load of the building. Geothermal heating and cooling have also been incorporated into the design. Solar hot water and photovoltaic cells populate the roof.