Surry Hills, in Sydney’s inner East, is arguably the epicentre of gay culture in this city. A mixture of renovated terraces, housing commission, apartments, shops and light industrial, it is an exciting, cosmopolitan and surprisingly close-knit community. The suburb even entered a float in last night’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras called Surry Hillsong, a repartee of the homophobic, exclusionary stance of the Sydney mega-church.
But Surry Hills is more than just a gay aetheist paradise. It’s also the home of a beautiful new library and community centre, designed by local architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp. When complete, the light, airy and very much green building will house a much-need childcare facility, as well as function rooms and a library with a large GLBTI collection.
The centre aims to pioneer environmentally sustainable design in Sydney. Solar cells and water tanks are certainly not a rarity at all these days, but the building goes one step further by incorporating an open-air atrium with rooftop plants to filter the air and reduce the need for air-conditioning, as the video below demonstrates. Very clever.