17 Wylde Street by Aaron M. Bolot
Enduring Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
This precious and delightful building of thirty-eight apartments occupies a pivotal place on Sydney’s Potts Point ridge. An outstanding example of innovative International Style cooperative housing, it was designed by prominent architect Aaron Bolot in 1948. Bolot was an emigre to Australia in 1911 and set up a practice in Sydney, working on a freelance basis, including a stint with Walter Burley Griffin.
One of the earliest curved apartment buildings in Sydney, this project demonstrates the influence of European modernism on postwar Australian architecture. It is one of the first Sydney buildings to employ a segmental radial plan in an inventive response to its triangular site. The sweeping facade, steel-framed glazing and horizontal spandrels are articulated by the use of breakfronts. The rear has quirky external cantilevered balconies connecting the apartments to fire-escapes.
As a result of the limited availability of materials when the project was built, individuality is achieved by lean means, with every apartment featuring unique parquetry and wall tiles. The plan has two separated lift cores servicing twin apartments from each. Each apartment spans from front to back, providing all rooms with effective ventilation and daylight – a significant forerunner of modern apartment design.