Potts Point in Sydney is undergoing revitalisation with a slew of new apartment and mixed-use blocks being built or marked for development. This includes a new-generation boarding house proposed for a tight corner site, offering affordable housing for young urban professionals.

Macintosh Group engaged DesignInc to design the boarding house, which will occupy the 63-square-metre corner site of Mansion Lane and Ward Avenue. It will be wedged between two multi-storey buildings, replacing a triple garage currently being used for storage by neighbouring Eastend Lodge.

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DesignInc responded to the context of the site with a curved building to address and activate the otherwise neglected corner. The height of the building steps up from the lower neighbour on Mansion Lane to the taller six-storey building on Ward Avenue.

With a crisp and contemporary monochromatic exterior, the building makes a modern statement in contrast to the plain façades of its neighbours, while still being respectful to the many heritage buildings within the conservation area. A bespoke handmade brick façade at ground level anchors the building to the site; the middle storeys have an off-white precast-concrete exterior; and a black-metal mansard roof caps the boarding house. Hooded window boxes project to the east and southeast, and a number of rooms have extra amenity with a small Juliet balcony to enhance the connection with the tree canopies.

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The internal planning of the building is designed around a central staircase with natural light and a lift. The generated a highly efficient room layout with eight rooms configured across four levels. There are two rooms on each floor, with a room located to either side of the stair. While the rooms vary between 17 and 21 square metres, each is fitted with a bathroom, kitchen with table and seats, a generous wardrobe, luxury bed and lounge seating. South- or east-facing windows provide light and outlook to every room.

The top floor contains the communal areas. An east-facing living space enjoys a vista toward the eastern suburbs and winter morning sun, and a north-facing outdoor area is a relaxed sun-filled space with a barbeque and seating.

With a desirable location and excellent access to services and transport, the proposed boarding house will offer affordable long-term accommodation to “key workers,” such as teachers and care-providers, as well as university students who do not rely on a car. It will activate underutilised land and be a welcome addition to the regeneration of the area.