Meredith Street Apartments and Affordable Housing
Bankstown CBD, Sydney
Glyde_Bautovich were commissioned to undertake urban planning and architectural services for the design of this mixed use project. The project consists of 110 dwellings of which 51 are affordable housing spread over 7 storeys with a commercial space at street level. This project has an unusual and unprecedented mix of residential uses and seeks to create a residential community whereby both the boarding house and residential apartment have their own identity but share the common spaces within the development. The site is located at the western edge of the Bankstown CBD and is on direct axis with Rickard Road. This brings significance to the site of an urban landmark and provides an opportunity to provide a distinctive contribution to the city.
A detailed review and interpretation of state planning controls showed that the site and its proposed uses met the requirements for an extra 0.5:1 FSR. Further analysis of state initiatives, including the proposed Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor, of potential affordable housing uses, Council objectives and Apartment Design Guidelines controls were used to develop the design. As the site’s uses fell under two state policies, one being for apartment design and the other the affordable housing, requirements to meet separation, privacy and setbacks were never thought for this unusual mix of uses. Many meetings with Council were held to nut out the design.
Big picture analysis was completed looking at the entire street block - which buildings would remain and what sites would likely be developed. The outcome of this analysis provided the street block scale information to understand what was an appropriate building form for the site. A model was built to capture this information and was used as a tool to discuss the proposal with Council. The model reinforced the need to respond to each boundary. To the north, a future apartment building, to the west high density zones but with a maximum building height of 15m and to the south an older low scale apartment building.
Various forms were tested so as to maintain the existing amenity to neighbours, provide amenity within the site and also respond to Councils desired future streetscape.
An L-shaped building with an open space to the northwest was the most appropriate building envelope. Conceptually we decided to explore the idea of expressing the building as a landmark. By creating a double height entry space this allowed a civic sized connection with the public domain and glimpses from the street of the communal open space beyond. Often buildings of this type which are wider than they are tall end up looking flat and squat as long horizontal lines flatten out the building form. To negate this we decided to reduce the amount of glazing facing the street and use angled walls to catch the morning sun and act as long vertical elements which create shadow textures on the street elevation. The tall elegant slenderness of these forms ameliorates the typical low flatness and creates a sculptural quality to the building form, helping to elevate it within the hierarchy of Bankstown CBD precinct.