Sydney eastern suburbs architects – Designing liveable spaces

Remodeling and Home Design

Arcadia apartments and retail – Maroubra

Multi-unit residential flat building and retail
1 x 4 storey building containing 2 X retail outlets and 10 units (1 X 3-bedroom, 2 X 2-bedroom, 7 X 1-bedroom) and 1 X basement level car park
Randwick Council jurisdiction
309-311 Bunnerong Road, Maroubra
Completed

Ten design quality principles

This statement responds to the ‘ten design quality principles’ in the Design Quality of Residential Flat Development SEPP 65 Provisions as follows:

01. Context

* 309-311 Bunnerong Road is the last of a line of east west orientated, narrow properties zoned under 3B. Running south are a number of run-down and under utilised retail and residential buildings with little or no architectural significance. Immediately north is a much larger corner site occupied by a service station which, as a focal point to a major road junction, is disappointingly placed. Within this context, this project seeks to respond to the future character and uses of this small business zoned area within, perhaps, its wider role as a more unique or specialised satellite of the Maroubra Junction commercial and residential precinct. A contemporary architectural statement whose appeal can be lifted by the hub of activity at the Junction whilst making the most of its own prominent position on Bunnerong and Maroubra Roads and its linking position to other shopping and residential areas.

* The site is within a very short walk to local shops and businesses including East Gardens Shopping Complex. Public transport is conveniently nearby along Bunnerong Road, Maroubra Road and Anzac Parade with buses running to the city, the University of NSW, sporting grounds, hospitals and other facilities. The University, in particular, requires 1 and 2 bedroom unit developments for students and support staff. Similarly, young couples and small families need the same mix of units in their search for inexpensive areas close to work and family friendly parks and beaches. Again, this context suggests a building that will respond to a younger, more dynamic population wanting a contemporary lifestyle.

* The more immediate context of this proposal is the recently approved and soon to be constructed development at 313 Bunnerong Road. Clearly, as the first in line of a number of similar sized potential development sites, the precedence of this building is important in determining a part of the future character of the block and as a long term neighbour. Accordingly, the development has been conscientiously considered in the design of this proposal and has been indicated in some detail on the drawings.

02. Scale

* The scale of the building to a large part has been determined by Councils assessment of the recently approved development at 313 Bunnerong Road. The existing properties within the block are under utilised and have thus left future floor space ratio (FSR) & height considerations to what has been recently deemed acceptable by recent Council decisions. Accordingly, the number of levels, their visibility from the street and their floor to floor dimension have all been directly taken from the approved development at 313.

* The result is a 3 level building with a fourth level set back from the front and rear street alignments. All typical residential levels are identical in floor to floor dimension to the neighbour.

* When FSR is compared using gross floor area (GFA) that includes above ground car parking structures, the FSR for this proposal is slightly UNDER that approved at 313.

* The architectural treatment of elevations using material, colour, facade modulation and fenestration has also helped to minimise apparent scale and is discussed under items 3 and 10.

03. Built Form

* Extensive preliminary planning went into the built form of this proposal. A similar approach to the future development of 313 was considered in various forms ie: the centre of the building opened up as a courtyard to produce a front and rear section of the building running east west to acquire sun and light. Whilst this seemed unavoidable for the 313 site given its narrow width to length ratio, it seemed equally clear that such a scheme did not suite 309-311. This site was severely constrained in length by the wedged shaped geometry to the rear. What did become increasing apparent was the opportunity for this building to be oriented north south with a slender building depth taking in all of the well-understood advantages of this built from. The reasons in support of this are as follows:

* The neighbouring petrol station immediately north of the subject site is larger and open on three of its four boundaries. The only shared boundary, with 309-311 Bunnerong, provides the latter with greater opportunities to utilise a little more of their shared boundary without detriment to its northern neighbour’s development potential.

* As indicated in the Pre-DA Design Review Panel’s comments, the question of the southern neighbours amenity to the success of this building was also of importance if the subject site was not to be seen as benefiting by its northern orientation at the expense of its southern neighbour. In recognition of this, and in no small way, the internal arrangement of this proposal was totally redesigned to wrap the building around a significant southern side courtyard to match the central courtyard of 313. The courtyard extends over the entire height of the building to become mutually beneficial to both buildings and then steps significantly again at the penthouse level at the altitude of the winter sun to maximise sun and light. The entry stairs and lift shaft have also been totally redesigned to be removed from the vicinity of the neighbouring southern courtyard. In effect, the building has now become a hybrid of the initial Pre-DA scheme and the 313 approved solution.

* In order to establish a potential building of note on the larger petrol station development site and at the significant Bunnerong/Maroubra Road junction, 309-311 needs to wrap around from the west to the east to terminate the last of the narrow east west orientated sites. This is not only important to articulate a culmination of the entire block and a proportionate backdrop to a future petrol station development but also if it were to remain, to act as a transitional element between the last of the residential/retail blocks and the commercial area.

04. Density

* Again, when Council approved the development at 313 Bunnerong Road, the future density requirement for this small business zoned block was determined. Accordingly, this development has been the benchmark for the determination of this proposals density limits in terms of the number and type of dwellings, open space requirements and, as discussed previously under scale, the buildings FSR and height restrictions. This proposal generates 11 units comprising 4 x 2 bed units and 7 x 1 bed units. On a smaller parcel of land, 313 comprises 10 units comprising 8 x 1.5 bed units and 2 x 1 bed units. Both buildings locate retail areas to the ground floor Bunnerong Road frontage. However, this proposal has placed more importance on the need for shop frontage in the overall mix of the building providing 2 shops and more than 3.5 times greater area.

* A comparable open space area has been provided in both development schemes. The major difference is that this proposal sets aside two areas, one in a relatively large 5m set back zone on the north and the other in a central southern court. For a business-zoned property, we consider these setbacks as generous.

05. Resource, energy and water efficiency

* The building form provides good opportunity for all units to achieve plenty of natural lighting and cross ventilation across a narrow building depth. All living, dining and kitchen areas can be opened substantially with folding doors or opened up minimally during colder weather with smaller, separate windows. In response to the Pre-DA Design Review Panel’s comments, the southern courtyard has also enabled the more critical windows for cross ventilation to be more than 3m away from the boundaries to minimise the need for fire rating measures.

* All large areas of glazing are substantially located to the north where they are well protected by vertical and horizontal screening. East and west elevation exposure has been minimised and where glazing is provided, their size are reduced and protected by afternoon sun by recessing and/or screening.

* A roof garden is proposed which should provide opportunities for a well-insulated concrete slab.

* Although not required to comply with the BASIX certificate, there is an allocated area for a basement water tank.

* Note: See the report by The House Energy Rating Company of Australia for specific NATHers and BASIX inclusions for water and energy efficiency measures.

06. Landscape

* Two reasonable sized courtyards have been provided to the north for the ground floor 1 x bedroom unit and a potential outdoor area for one of the retail outlets.

* A roof top garden has been provided for the amenity of occupants and designed to define areas of meaningful activity.

* Although deep root planting proved difficult to achieve, in response to the Pre-DA Design Review Panel’s comments, a deep rooted tree has been provided adjacent to the south east corner entry to the Wild Lane frontage. To the Bunnerong Road frontage, the facade and awning configuration has provided the opportunity for a significant street tree.

07. Amenity

* As discussed in more detail elsewhere, sun control, light and natural ventilation will be accessible to all units.

* Balconies, individual and central courtyards and a roof garden will provide ample outdoor area for the enjoyment of occupants.

* Balconies and courtyards are well screened for privacy and sun protection. The southern courtyard will also be well planted for the mutual enjoyment of both neighbouring properties and also to reduce the amount of direct overlooking.

* Internal planning of combined living areas has also improved from the Pre-DA design with a better relationship between those internal areas and the views/light/sun.

08. Safety and security

* Surveillance of the public open spaces and entry thoroughfares in the scheme will be possible from adjoining apartments.

* The main entrances to the buildings are all open to the street with other building exits provided for escape only. The main lobby shall have a security system installed.

* Lighting to the landscaped areas, the entrance lobbies and the shopfronts shall help to provide greater surveillance to maintain security.

09. Social Dimensions

* As mentioned previously, the mix of apartment types and quantities are keeping with the younger small families, single professionals and students one would expect in such a well serviced, inner suburban area.

* The size and type of amenity provided is also consistent with the age and mix of anticipated users. Small courtyards with reasonable sized balconies and shared landscaped roof tops will be used more by single or small family groups than large ground floor garden areas or communal spaces which can be found in large numbers throughout the parks, sporting facilities and beaches in the area.

* The site is well located to public and private transport and will continue to benefit from the facilities and activities generated by other nearby commercial and residential hubs and the city centre.

10. Aesthetics

* For the most part, the aesthetics of this proposal has responded in detail to the more general criteria that have shaped the building itself. More specifically, they have been:

* The opening up of the northern elevation with regularly expressed and spaced balconies, windows, doors and screening mechanisms. This has created a very ordered northern facade with the repetition of vertically spaced screens and horizontally arranged balconies and awnings.

* The north west corner has been somewhat opened up with the re-orientation of the vertical screens to express the turning of the building from its street address to its habitation address and to express the termination of the building block’s row of western street frontages.

* The street address has been defined by the grid patterned tiled facade which has picked up the proportions of the neighbouring building at No. 313. The recesses, vertical screening elements and main shop awnings have helped to serve practical purposes of sun control and privacy but also to define areas of entry from shop fronts to decorative linear elements. The curved forms of the main shop front awnings have not only identified entries but also provided a flow of space to accommodate a significant street tree.

* The top floors are set back from the street and are played down with light colours, smooth textures and less articulations than the brighter coloured, busier tiled facade which pick up the more critical contextual proportions required in the street.

* Coloured translucent tints to certain glazed panels serve to introduce some brighter, warmer colours into the scheme and to counter the monochrome linear elements of the facade.