Sydney’s iconic trams have been brought back to life at Bondi Junction’s new upmarket Archibald Residences, with old black and white photographs of the city’s tramway recreated as perforated metal ventilation screens by Arrow Metal.
The stunning photographic 3mm aluminium panels give people a taste of what life was like during the golden age of Sydney’s tramways, which served the inner suburbs of Sydney from 1879 to 1961. The screens perfectly capture the details of the era despite the age and condition of the original images, including passenger faces, clothing, cars, shopfronts, and local architecture.
Located on two sides of the Archibald development in Adelaide Street and Grafton Lane, the project architects specified the screens with a dual visual and functional purpose, which resulted in significant challenges:
The key issue for this project was the competing hole sizes and open area percentages for each of the panel functions.
Image recreation for a non-lit installation like Archibald Residences usually requires five different hole sizes for the best image quality and precision, with small holes replicating an image’s light areas and larger holes used for shadows. But using this method for the Archibald’s screens would have negatively impacted ventilation ability – a key requirement of the project brief.
Our team worked closely with project landscape architects, Site Image, to produce different variations of the panels, carefully adjusting the original images and resulting CAD drawings to find the perfect balance of function and form.
We instead worked mainly with a three-hole size range, adding in a larger size than normal to achieve sufficient ventilation without compromising image quality. The result is panels that look just like old black and white photographs, but which are also cleverly cooling the building at the same time.
Archibald Residences’ tram tribute is a fantastic architectural nod to the site’s history. The tramline ran along Oxford Street where the apartment complex now stands, and Bondi Junction takes its name from the junction of the Bondi and Bronte tram lines, which was once at the corner of Oxford Street and Bronte Road.
Today, you can see hints of its tramway past throughout the area, including the mall which features fake tram tracks, and now, also on display at the Archibald building.
If you want to create a similar result using old photographs for your next architecture project, learn more about how we made the Archibald’s panels in this blog here, which also has expert tips from our team about choosing historic photos for recreation in perforated metal.
You can also explore our Project gallery for more custom perforated metal project ideas.
To make a perforated metal enquiry for your next project, call our team on (02) 9748 2200 or contact us online here.
Site Image Landscape Architects