The philosophy of ivy is to create one of the most vibrant and youthful meeting places in the world. A world within a world, it is a “house` in the big city where everyone is welcome and guests’ needs are anticipated. With an intimacy typically encapsulated by a private residence, ivy is a place for reprieve from the demanding city tempo, a vibrant and stimulating work or meeting venue: a celebration of “a life less ordinary`. A landscaped oasis containing over 20, 000sqm of hotel and hospitality venues, ivy is a seamless ensemble of eighteen bars, nine restaurants, one of Sydney’s largest ballrooms, a sunken garden atrium, two Penthouse suites and a rooftop pool – designed across two adjoining sites in mid-town Sydney. Despite residing within a commercial domain, ivy retains the qualities of conventional domesticity. Key elements of idealised 1950s modernist residences are reinterpreted and over-scaled into a harmonious sequence of indoor/outdoor rooms. The interior design principles stem from a careful understanding of the interrelationship between architecture, landscape and interiors. This holistic approach to design – to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out, has produced a hospitality offering layered with rich, unexpected touches. Through the appropriation of building and furnishing materials, contrasting space and light, the subserviency of architecture to interiors and vice versa achieves a series of meaningful experiences which engage the senses. The challenge lay in establishing an ivy ‘community’ where the inter-disciplinary dialogue in design sought to include diverse, yet cohesive materials, forms, detailing, lighting, scale, and line of sight choices to connect the interactive indoor/outdoor spaces, and define the essence of ivy as a veritable playground. As a series of new generation city buildings, ivy is designed to ‘belong’ to the people of Sydney. Opening the site’s George Street doors by providing multiple through-site connections and accessible routes, ivy contributes significantly to its public domain amenity by reclaiming Sydney’s neglected laneways. By rebuilding the site’s historical pedestrian linkages and relocating the former Palings Lane to the Northern end of Ash Street, ivy acts as an extension to Martin Place and Angel Place via the newly developed pedestrian networks. ivy is a public precinct destination. The gentle ramping of Palings Lane, raising of Ash Street and the utilisation of Astral black granite paving work to create a seamless public domain. The “grid` nature of the insitu-concrete and pre-cast split face stone walls enable different permutations of façade openings to be achieved, and lush garden courtyards on all Street frontages. The George Street, Ash Street and Palings Lane façades also incorporate pre-cast concrete planter boxes which, over time, will hold thickened, overhanging greenery to enhance the public realm experience for pedestrians. The key to ivy’s laneway activation lies in the allocation of the main entry points to the building’s George Street nexus. Injecting the lanes with entrances to new buildings, select retail stores, bistro/bars, public seating and landscaping, ivy invites the public to rediscover Sydney’s lost laneway network through the day and into the evening. ivy’s built form and context relationship is focused on maintaining the George Street wall resolution. This was derived from critical streetscape datums from the adjoining Société Generale entablature and architrave details. The concept of materiality is further echoed in the use of bronze and split-faced sandstone detailing. Historical mapping of the NAB facades on George and Ash Street is achieved through proportioning systems of expressed concrete and salvaged material - represented on the re-designed facades as part of ivy’s “contemporary adaptive re-use strategy`. Traycite stone elements of the former NAB building and salvaged stone were combined with new board form concrete, ribbed bronze and glass to tell a visual story of the site’s history, the former lane location, and in turn though delicate framed windows and operable panel doors to remove the threshold between public street and usable commercial space. After negotiations with adjacent property owners and the City of Sydney, ivy incorporates catenary “festive` lighting cabling which spans between the Frederick Ash façade (AMP Development) and the Eastern extent of the ivy façade. It is this illuminative touch that provides a theatrical overlay for special events including exhibitions, fashion shows and an outdoor cinema. Accordingly, ivy’s structure was designed around planning requirements that capitalise on the relationship and proximity between its various hospitality offerings. Fire engineered solutions effectively reduced stair width requirements by 40% thereby maximising patrons numbers. With the client as owner/occupier, it was pertinent to balance capital cost and minimise ongoing operational and maintenance costs through careful material/product selection. The environmentally sustainable approach to ivy identified the dependence on good and enduring passive design principles. Realised through the use of verandahs, canopies, oversized louvers, retractable shutters and raised floors opening out onto shady natural vegetation work to cool the precinct core and allow for cross ventilation. A natural evaporative cooling effect is also achieved by the atrium’s water misting. Conversely, the courtyards contain gas heaters and greater thermal mass is attained via the expansive concrete components in the building’s overall construction. On-site tanks hand in hand with all landscaped elements, both retain considerable amounts of storm water for dedicated irrigation purposes. Furthermore, ivy’s pool heating is supplemented with condenser water system ‘waste heat’ from a dedicated heat exchanger which provides year round free heating. Teaming a visionary client with architecture, interiors, landscape, graphic design and identity consultants as well as project-associated engineering specialists, the end to end design process was a continually-evolving playground of ambition and compromise. The involvement of the client at all stages allowed for the cohesive team of consultants to work in an unprecedented creative process. In short, ivy redefines contemporary architecture and interior design practice to create a heady mix of retail, street life, art and architecture, music, work, gastronomy, horticulture and the Australian love of water into a fully-realised ‘home of design’. ivy defies traditional design typologies so as to exist in a league of its own.


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