Concrete Mastery in the City

A multi-residential building has breathed life into the inner city suburb of Surry Hills, Sydney. The project is a concrete masterpiece by Architect Angelo Candalepas utilising three different forms of concrete walling to create a residential haven within the city.

The building consists of fourteen floors above ground and three basement parking floors below ground. The above ground floors consist of eleven floors of residential over two floors of commercial over ground level retail. Forty eight apartments constitute the residential section which includes two upper floor penthouses and two roof top swimming pools with city views.

Located on a prominent corner block on Pelican and Poplar Streets with high visual exposure, careful consideration was given to the selection of the façade material and the design of the façade to ensure that it enhanced the surrounding natural and built environment.

The concrete façade oozes quality and infectiously lends style and class to the buildings character. Diligence from both the designer and builder are apparent in the surface texture and appearance of the concrete, which has been carefully detailed and constructed to complement the symmetric arrangement of the façade’s recesses and splays. 

Energy saving and privacy are two much sort after values for residents in the city and concrete provides them as part of its natural properties. 

This has been achieved by white coloured concrete brise-soleil (sun blades) in conjunction with wide balconies, which provide shade to the residential apartments creating a building that is naturally cool during summer while providing the tenants with a high degree of privacy and seclusion in the heart of the city. 


The construction of the building demonstrates the versatility of concrete with three different methods used to build the concrete walls: Precast, Off-form and Permanent Formwork.

Precast concrete 200 mm thick was used on the western and southern facades with the southern façade panels employing a Reckli form face liner to produce a recessed textured pattern. Conventional grey concrete was specified with 32 MPa strength and Class 2C with the “C” suffix denoting colour control. These panels are all loadbearing.

The northern façade is constructed from Precast 100 mm thick utilising a white concrete manufactured from white cement with 5% white oxide, white sand and quartz aggregate. Off-form concrete was cast in situ using either traditional formwork or system jump form. Normal concrete was specified for all of the off-form with two alternate strengths: 32 MPa for the majority and 50 MPa for the specially shaped elements.

A permanent formwork system using Fibre Cement board as the form was used for internal walls with the Fibre Cement board being set, painted and utilised as the final outer surface of the wall. The concrete filled permanent formwork system provided the necessary acoustic rating between apartments without the need for additional acoustic insulation. Concrete walls naturally provide good noise suppression to ensure appropriate privacy in multi-residential homes.

All external walls were provided with thermal insulation installed in internal cavities provided by an additional wall leaf of metal studwork and plaster board.
An interesting aspect of the building is the detail that the architect included through ensuring that all services were concealed within the building elements. Mechanical, hydraulic, fire and electrical services are all concealed from view on the walls and facades, with all balcony drainage being cast in the floor slabs and vertical downpipes hidden behind concrete walls and wrapped in suitable acoustic lining. It’s the attention to fine detail in the concrete walling that makes this building so appealing.  

Concrete builds great homes, beautiful buildings and sustainable cities.  This is a prime example with the exemplary concrete walling not just appealing to the eye but creating an inner city home for residents in the busy metropolis of Surry Hills. This building epitomises the strengths of concrete – residential privacy, durability, great thermal efficiency, passive energy control and excellent sound attenuation.

Architect: Angelo Candalepas
Builder: Infinity Constructions
Wall System Jumpform: Peri
Wall Permanent Formwork System: Ritek
Precast wall form liner: Reckli