'It has a head of hair' – Castle Residences' architect discusses the unique and distinguishing features of the new Sydney landmark development

'It has a head of hair' – Castle Residences' architect discusses the unique and distinguishing features of the new Sydney landmark development
Olivia RoundApril 21, 2021

When Candalepas Associates were commissioned to lead the design for Sydney's new landmark project, Castle Residences, developer United Development Sydney gave a simple yet challenging design brief: to create "a work of art".

The award-winning Sydney-based firm led by Angelo Candalepas strived to achieve this by creating a series of spaces that evoke emotion, thought and discussion. 

From the building's base, you can see cascading greenery – which Angelo refers to animatedly as a "head of hair".

"The intention was to form a very soft top so that when people see the building in the skyline, it distinguishes itself from buildings which are flat-roofed, but also enables an enormous amount of green to be present."

Personification and lightheartedness are also carried through into the building's interiors, with the Candalepas team drawing inspiration from the human eye. 

"At the time of the competition, what we had thought was a very beautiful representation of form was the arch – it's so arresting to the human eye because of many reasons - but the primary one I believe is that it is in the form of the human eye.

What we've done is created imprints of the human eye for the homes and when you think about - a series of beautiful eyebrows representing both the expression of the building outwardly and the impression of the building inwardly.

It has been an important aspect of the design."

While the design team had plenty of creative freedom to explore imaginative ideas, the historical context of the area was taken into account to ensure the building seamlessly integrated within its surroundings.

Key landmarks that influenced the design were Porter House, St Georges Church, the Workers Club, the old Telstra Exchange and Lincoln House.

"All of these things [historical landmarks] have to factor into what we do - there is no point in pretending that we're working in a vacuum and so it's important to recognise that the site comes with an understanding of everything that existed prior to when we came. 

My feeling is that when the scaffolding comes down there will be an overwhelming sense that it [the building] has a contextual presence – that the building has a sense of being of its place, but also a sense of being of its time – which is going to make it look different to the other buildings, but respect them." 

As Castle Residences reaches the completion of its construction timeline, Angelo, who has been working on the project for over 10 years, will be able to see his team's vision in its built form, standing 36 stories tall on the prominent Sydney CBD site. 

"I'm most proud of the fact that I'm still here. After many, many people have sold and bought the site - after 10 years of working on the project and after all the arguments and resilience that needs to be shown of an architect in this city, I'm still here doing it, and I'm proud of that."

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of urban.com.au. Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

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