What was originally a brownfield site, and occupying two street frontages, is now 100 apartments spread over two buildings that extend to six levels (with two levels of basement car parking). Designed for developer Livestyle, this project was awarded to Bennett Murada after a failed attempt by another practice. Described as a ‘project rescue’, the local council was seeking a more innovative solution to providing what was essentially rental accommodation.
Comprising one, two and three-bedroom apartments, varying in size from 55 to 110 square metres in area, the two apartment blocks centre onan internal void. So rather than walking down dark and endless corridors to reach a front door, residents can enjoy a sense of arrival and the benefits of seeing neighbours across the void to other levels as much as those living on the same level.
Designed for the investment market and produced on a relatively tight budget, the key to making this development work was to use architecture as integral to the functional elements - aluminium battened screens and balustrades eliminating the need for additional walls and also providing cross-ventilation for terraces and balconies. Off formed concrete walls were also left unadorned to create both an industrial aesthetic and a rein on costs. Pivotal to the design is the communal courtyard by landscape architects Arcadia.
While some may try and create superfluous detail, Bennett Murada Architects delivered an honest, well-conceived apartment development that addressed its context and the audience it was designed for – it offers relatively affordable housing with simple clean-lined interiors that benefit from generous light, privacy and, importantly, a connection to neighbours in a large development close to the city and the amenities this affords.