the atrium

When the client and lead architect contacted Darren with what seemed like a relatively straightforward commission, they couldn’t have anticipated his innovative response.

The project was the conversion of two buildings in Hamilton into multiple occupancy and studio apartments. One of buildings, the former Hamilton RSL, was built in the 1960’s while the other on an adjoining block was a period building of historical significance designed in 1907 by prolific Newcastle architect, Frederick Menkens.

The challenge of the commission was to provide a vivid green space with green vertical articulation on a narrow parcel of land overshadowed by both buildings. Pedestrian movement through the space was essential to provide practical access and egress between Tudor Street and the rear of the buildings.

Working with the limitations of the situation, Darren designed a clear lineal pathway that provided the required access along with a covered shelter where multiple mailboxes will be located. The area will also be fully accessible by users with a disability.

Adjoining the pathway, gardens will be planted to form a low-maintenance, visually pleasing ‘pseudo rooftop’.

Another requirement was for an eight by ten metre privacy barrier to separate the Menkens building balconies from those of the RSL building.  Darren’s clever solution is a compound curved structure with translucent properties that both fulfils the function and provides a unifying focal feature for the entire project.