Porous Wall Apartments – Rosebery

Porous Wall Apartments comprises a group of eight buildings in Rosebery completed for Meriton. The project was produced under a City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition over the course of four weeks. With project like these we are constantly and incrementally trying to lift the game in NSW medium density housing. The project comprises of 464 Apartments with over 70% achieving 2 hours or more sunshine in winter and 69% of apartments that cross-ventilate. The scheme embeds two childcare centres within the landscape corridor and is fully compliant with GFA controls.

By utilising a bridge-slot separation between buildings at the corner we have achieved a higher proportion of cross-ventilating apartments. A typical core serves eleven apartments with only three that do not cross-ventilate. At 73% cross-ventilation the particular example not only surpasses the 60% requirements under SEPP65 but provides greater amenity and more marketable living environments. Similar configurations are deployed throughout the building to maintain a higher-than- minimum ratio.

Foliage from the generous gardens assists in providing visual privacy and provides a leafy outlook for most of the apartments. Importantly the foliage also reduces the localised heat-island effect by shading hard surfaces and cooling breezes as they pass through the porous building. Private balcony spaces are minimal though functional deep- set balcony and are able to accommodate natural laundry drying facilities without unduly compromising the aesthetic of the building.

Above the Court levels, on levels L3 and L5 are the three Communal Gardens. These gardens enjoy the sunnier upper levels of the buildings where there is enough sunlight for the small scaled production of fruit and vegetables. Shared outdoor kitchens make these gardens a ‘sticky’ space for residents to hang on the weekend, grow and share a meal together. Small garden plots will allow allocation to interested residents.

Other uses located on the Communal Garden levels include generous clothes lines, composting and worm farms, and rainwater collection and distribution systems.Not only do theses social exchanges amplify any great place-making effects in the architecture, they engender a sense of collective ownership and civic pride amongst the residents.

In the belly of the project many of the sharing facilities of the building can be found. Carshare cars, bookable bicycles, shareable tools and gardening equipment, an area for furniture swapping and a number of small workshop spaces. A common notice board combines with a residents portal website to keep all residents up-to-date with meetings, workshops, bookings and availability.

The material strategy aims to differentiate between the three blocks through the use of a separate palette for each. The rigidity of this strategy was then loosened by extending the second palette into the third block. to achieve a sense of continuity. The three distinct palettes reduce the scale of the development, retaining the feel of the urban block and alluding to several smaller communities within the greater scheme.

Apartment mix
1 bed 37%
2 bed 41%
3 bed 22%
2 Childcare Centres

PROJECT: Block Party Housing
TYPE: Medium Density Housing
CLIENT: Meriton
YEAR: Competition entry 2015
AREA: 47,623 sqm GFA
TEAM: Adam Russell, Prudence Duncan,Tran Dang
COLLABORATIORS: Kann Finch, Lightbox
JOB NO: 1527