Marrick & Co
* TZG Archietects
* Mirvac Design
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Standing on the site of a former hospital in Sydney’s working-class Inner West district, Marrick & Co is a small but innovative mixed-use project that pairs sustainable mid-range housing with various public amenities. The 11,500 square metre site, which the local council put to tender following a design competition, is strongly community oriented. It consists of:
- 205 medium-density apartments in a diverse range of design, size, and pricing, including nine affordable housing units,
- 17 terraced houses and apartments accommodated in the hospital’s former Nurses Quarters Building,
- A 3,500 sq.m library and community hub,
- Public space, including a plaza next to the library, a children’s play area, and an events area known as The Commons,
- Basement parking for 236 cars.
Completed in mid-2019, the development enjoyed immediate commercial and critical success. As one juror said: “ Its authentic architecture and urban design is both respectful to the heritage fabric and also draws on Marrickville’s own values – including environmental activism, human scale, diversity and inclusion.”
The jury was impressed by how developer Mirvac has managed to set new standards in the industry from such a low-cost initiative, creating a replicable template for new-build residential projects that integrates cost-effective, community-oriented facilities (in the shape of a library and an open-space community hub) at no cost to the taxpayer.
In particular, the beautifully-designed library, for which the local community waited for some 30 years, has not only won national awards as a standalone facility, but has also been tightly assimilated into the residential portion of the development as a result of close cooperation between the respective project design teams.
The various parts of Marrick & Co function well as both a discrete residential complex and in the way they have been tightly integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood, which has embraced its facilities wholeheartedly. According to one juror: “It was great to see how well organised the pathways are through the site, in particular using the library and also the public space, which is accessible to the greater community for all sorts of purposes. It’s all very seamless and hard to see where it starts and stops – this is certainly not a gated community.”
Mirvac also earned plaudits for both outstanding design and high levels of sustainability (unsurprisingly, given the developer’s well-earned reputation in this area). Residential units were conceived as a blueprint for sustainable construction, with everything from design to furniture embodying a ‘zero waste’ ethos. In addition, designers were careful to adapt and reuse pre-existing structures from the former hospital, thereby minimising waste while also retaining an element of local heritage that would otherwise have been lost.
One juror also commented how the library has “led the way on sustainable material use” by leveraging recycled Australian hardwoods reclaimed from aging projects around the country.
Marrick & Co has now won several awards, including New South Wales’ first One Planet Living Community rating. Sustainable features include passive design, solar energy, extensive repurposing of pre-existing materials, an array of energy/water saving features, and drought tolerant landscaping irrigated with rainwater collected onsite.