55 Elizabeth Street, designed by BVN Donovan Hill stands out from its neighbours by virtue of its contemporary design language and use of materials.
Much ingenuity and effort has been put in to moderate the scale of the 15-storey building in its tripartite treatment. The lowest third of the building has been sensitively treated so that it relates to the heritage buildings adjacent to it. Sandstone finished columns pick up the lines, rhythm and materiality of its neighbours. Within this lowest third portion of the building is a further articulation at street level to relate to the human scale of pedestrians walking along its covered walkway. The middle third of the building is composed of treated glazing and fins, while the highest third has a volume composed of closely spaced sun-shading fins. Again, the articulation of the highest third of the building co-relates with the height of the block adjacent to it.
The material palette, including that of the glazing, sun-shading fins, columns, pull-handles and other building features are earthy and warm in tonality. In comparison to the typical cool and shiny colours of commercial buildings, such a material palette is indeed a welcomed breath of fresh air.
In the design of 55 Elizabeth Street, we see BVN Donovan Hill’s tangible sense of respect for a building’s relationship with its context, as well as a sensitivity in the articulation of balance, scale and proportion of the building massing and features.