NEW GENERATION TOWNHOUSES
SINGLE LEVEL LIVING
ARCHITECTURE: VIC LAKE, LISA LOI, FABRIZIO CERUTI
PROJECT MANAGER: JEFF DOOLEY
The keys around which the design was approached were the site orientation, its physical characteristic and the demographic investigation of the area.
Extending from north to south, the site area, comprising of 5 amalgamation lots, is located on a corner between a busy primary road and a secondary road. One of its peculiarity is the sloping nature of the land, falling for more than 5 meters from north to south and allowing perfect conditions for views, capture of prevailing breezes, and most of all, solar access.
The demographic aspect of the suburb was another important aspect to consider. Gymea is currently undergoing a transition to a higher density, making many existing single dwellings and dual occupancies owners relocating and looking for a new place to live. The driving idea to address these particular changing times was to create a new generation of single level living townhouses, particularly focusing on people who might age in place.
The architectural expression of the townhouses finds inspiration in the neighbouring single level dwellings. The 19 total dwellings proposed are arranged on 2 levels, all with ground floor access, and are broken into 4 different blocks providing privacy, light and generous private open spaces.
The staggering of the main volumes allows extra light to penetrate and reach the ground floor dwellings, and provides greater views for each first floor unit with the opportunity for large terraces.
A pedestrian spine splits the four main volumes in half on both levels, running through the middle of the development with a north-south orientation and connecting all the entry doors. This pedestrian link has been one of the main aspect during the process too, and owes its importance to the intention of creating a sense of place inside the development, a connecting path where residents could interact but also an opportunity for the architecture to be discovered and experienced.
The is populated with numerous plants, and high value large canopy trees that hugged the boundaries and sat within the street front. An important decision was to complement the vegetation with several new trees, shrubs and groundcovers to replace the old and non vital trees that had to be removed which soften the built form, enhancing the amenities and contributing positively to the public streetscape and ecology. The vehicles access was positioned outside the existing tree protection zones while granting a safe entry and exit for the vehicles away from the main busy road.
The well-organised and efficient single level basement offers visitor spaces, planting pockets and secure garages for all dwellings. Each block of townhouses is serviced with a direct lift connecting the basement to the pedestrian link at ground level and the first floor.
The townhouses mix have been designed following real estate agents advice to offer spacious 3 bedrooms, efficient one bedroom possibly on ground floor, and typical 2 bedrooms dwellings with ample balconies on first floor. The majority of the units have the living room areas facing north, and being the townhouses detached, good cross-ventilation and generous private open spaces are provided, evoking the feeling of a single-family home.
The marriage of the existing trees, the thoughtful proposed landscaping and the ever-changing façades, create a new balanced synergy between nature, man and architecture, inspiring the perception of the passing of time yet reinforcing an awareness of the present.
Images by Gian Luca Canzini