Spectrum is road architecture, with the south elevation of the main building facing onto a future six lane arterial and the north elevation facing a sun-filled, raised communal courtyard. Spectrum is white, light, permeable, shaded, sunny, green, abstract and box-like – an example of climatically responsive modernism or ‘Eco-Minimalism’. The site consists of irregular shaped land resumed by the RTA in the 70s for its grand freeway extension plan through Alexandria and Erskineville, connecting eastern and inner-west suburbs. The design strategy is urban repair and open space definition.
The design concept for Spectrum consists of perimeter building forms that define a variety of open spaces: a central, triangular-shaped, communal courtyard; a wedged-shaped, publicly accessible park; and existing public streets McEvoy and Lawrence Streets. Open space and building form are arranged to produce a complementary framework of occupation. The pattern of perimeter buildings and internal courtyard and atriums can be extended as a concept for the redevelopment of the adjoining industrial lands to south and north of the site.
The 3 to 6 storey buildings are organised around a raised communal courtyard with an emphasis on diversity of open space and apartment types. Dwelling types comprise single level apartments, 2 and 3 storey gallery apartments, 3 storey courtyard terraces and 3 storey atrium terraces. SOHO apartments along the lower level of McEvoy Street are live/ work arrangements. Courtyards in the atrium terraces on Lawrence Street bring light into centre of the living areas.
Buildings are orientated to the north for solar access, cross ventilation and protection from traffic noise. The main building is designed as a noise barrier building that anticipates the future RTA widening of McEvoy Street from a four to six lane arterial.
The predominant external expression of streamlined, white walls and glass curtain reflects the industrial character of the area. The main building presents as a ‘curtain wall’ with gallery circulation to McEvoy Street and an ‘environmental crate’ or ’ brise-soleil’ with living areas to the northern courtyard. Adjustable, aluminium louvre screens are used for privacy to bedrooms of the courtyard apartments and fixed, horizontal aluminium screens for sun shading of the courtyard terraces and atrium terraces on Lawrence Street.