Kensington Street at Central Park
Kensington Street, an innovative laneway development has re-energised a long-neglected inner-city precinct by Turf Design Studio with Jeppe Aagaard Andersen. It has been transformed from an abandoned back alley comprising some of Sydney’s oldest working-class terraces and warehouses, into a vibrant new inner-city destination bustling with cafes, restaurants, artist studios, new student housing, the Spice Alley market and the reborn The Old Clare Hotel. Located in Sydney’s new downtown, Chippendale, Kensington Street is a must-visit lifestyle precinct that combines heritage, hospitality, retail and art in a way that Sydney has never seen before.
“A fine-grained urban floor of brick was key to unifying heritage buildings and new contemporary architecture, while making a great place for people. Subtle variations 4140 in brick pattern were used to provide richness and detail while delineating property boundaries, pedestrian through-site links and significant building entrances. Reinstated trachyte heritage kerbing and a new central bluestone spoon drain provide further interest and variation.” – Australian Think Brick Awards
Kensington Street brings to the table Sydney’s newest laneway and sets a new benchmark for the City’s future streets. Transforming a once abandoned corner of the city into an ‘eat street’ destination; heritage terraces are awash with new creative spaces, bringing an eclectic buzz to Broadway and Sydney’s evolving downtown.
- On the eastern side of the street are working class terraces from 1842 to 1910 that were procured by John Tooth for brewery expansion. These heritage facades have been retained and restored; a significant initiative in retaining heritage value in the street.
- The Old Clare Hotel has undergone a major overhaul and through careful adaptive reuse, has joined with the former Carlton United Administration Building to transform into a 5-star hotel by Unlisted Collection.
- In the public domain, original trachyte kerbing has been uplifted and reinstated flush alongside the brick paving, serving as a historical line. Old world charm exudes through its brick and granite features, tying in with its surrounding architecture.
“This project impressed the jury with its transformation of Kensington Street, achieved with a confident design and well considered material selection. The new streets’ physical connectivity and integration of cars within a pedestrian-focused environment are both handled well by the designers and underpin the success of the project. However, it is the inspired choice of Bowral Brick unit pavers that add a level of fine detail and scale to the street which enlivens the once neglected heritage fabric. The ground plane offers an immediate sense of timelessness to the design, a characteristic that further develops through the use of a refined colour pallet and a pared back simplicity in street furniture choice. The end result is a contemporary ‘eat street’ for varied and changing use, a paved carpet of a fine and timeless quality rolled out in honour of the daily rituals of meeting and eating.” Jury Citation / NSW Landscape Architecture Awards
Kensington Street’s highly innovative design and carefully executed heritage adaptive reuse strategy has revitalised one of Sydney’s oldest streets into a vibrant new public place that contributes to the evolving street typology of the city. The place is a hive of activity, buzzing from the early morning until late at night with people of all ages and backgrounds exploring the street’s creative spaces, dining and cultural offerings.
Turf Design Studio:
Kensington Street is the vision of Greencliff Executive Chairman Dr Stanley Quek and Frasers Property Australia, first defined in Central Park’s 2007 public domain plan and further advanced by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and Turf Design Studio in collaboration with Jeppe Aagaard Andersen.
The street offered immense possibilities – a built fabric comprised of some of Sydney’s oldest workers cottages, terraces and warehouses. As landscape architects and urbanists how could we reimagine the street? How could we build on the street’s unique story and in so doing make a new Sydney place?
The first imperative was its physical connection – a series of thru-site links to the emerging Central Park precinct were vital in stitching the street back into the fabric of Chippendale, in Sydney’s downtown CBD. In parallel, a process of boiling down – carefully understanding the history and many heritage qualities of the street. Then came stripping back – removing those elements not intrinsic to its spirit of place.
Finally, carefully adding in – lighting, trees, seats and ground plane – the public domain infrastructure required as fit for purpose. We aimed to touch lightly but decisively in forging something new from old. Greencliff had a definitive vision for Kensington Street.
“When Greencliff purchased Kensington Street’s historic worker’s cottages and warehouses, our vision was to reactivate the heritage buildings along the street and redevelop them for contemporary food, lifestyle, artistic and commercial endeavours,” – Dr Quek said.
Kensington Street’s public realm demonstrates leadership through the following key areas:
Placemaking: Landscape Architects are a key contributor in the making of cities. Our blended knowledge of urban design, environment, community and infrastructure makes our profession unique in connecting people and place. In Kensington Street our role was to make a robust and authentic street for living, where the hand of the designer remains largely unseen.
Creating a shared zone: The design team developed a ‘shared street’ approach, integrating cars within a pedestrian-focused environment.The street presents motorists with a succession of subtle physical and visual restraints designed to encourage slow driving. A central, granite dish drain, loose avenue of trees, bollards (mandated by RMS) and paving all combine to constrain vehicular movement and parking.
Collaboration with architects: The design team worked with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and heritage architects to carefully blend the language of the public realm with the heritage of the built form. Working class terrace facades have been retained and restored; a significant initiative in retaining heritage value in the street. The Old Clare Hotel has undergone a major overhaul and through careful adaptive reuse, has joined with the former Carlton United Administration Building to transform into a 5-star hotel by Unlisted Collection.
Retaining the site’s heritage qualities: Original trachyte kerbing has been preserved and reinstated on its original alignment – a subtle palimpsest within the new brick ground plane of bespoke Bowral brick that pays homage to its local heritage.
Project name: Kensington Street
Location: Chippendale, New South Wales 2008, Australia
Coordinates: -33.885114, 151.201721
Type: Street / Road / Highways / Bridges, City Space
Project Area: n/a
Cost: $3.7 million
Completion Year: September 2015
Visit Kensington Street’s Website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Greencliff and Fraser Property Australia
- Turf Design Studio – 95 Kingsway, Cronulla NSW 2230, Australia
- Jeppe Aagaard Andersen – Nordre Strandvej 199 E, DK-3150 Hellebæk, Denmark
- Tonkin Zulaikha Greer – 117 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia
- Paul Davies & Associates
- Turf Design Studio: Mike Horne, Scott Ibbotson, Claire Broun, Tim Cook
- JAAA: Jeppe Aagaard Andersen
- Structural Engineer: Mott Macdonald
Selected suppliers & subcontractors, Manufactures:
- Lead Contractor: Christie Civil Ventis & Brasker Masten
- Paving Contractor: Sam the Paving Man
- Builder: Built Holdings Pty Ltd
- Manufacturer: Bowral Bricks
- Building Contractor: Sam the Paving Man
Text Description: © Courtesy of Turf Design Studio, Kensington Street, Australian Good Design Award, Australian Think Brick Awards
Images: © Turf Design Studio, Kensington Street, Kensington Street Social, Simon Wood, instagram-Peiwen K, Instagram-skim, Sunil Gopinath, Mike Horne, David Clare, Nikki To, Natalie Hayllar, Gisella Morris, Kiera Zhy, Wilhelm Tan, Jugarnauts, Genola De Jong, Ana Ouriques, Mitch Lui, Amanda Davenport, Alexander Mayes