At the CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) Participants Annual Forum in Sydney last November, Curtin University’s Josh Byrne, better known as the name and face behind the Josh’s House project in Fremantle, announced he’d been working on a new internet documentary series.
It was to follow a similar format to his popular 2014 series called Josh’s House Star Performers, but instead of exploring high performing low-density dwellings around the country, the new series would explore exemplary middle and high-density projects.
The first four episodes of Density by Design, each visiting a different multi-residential project from around Australia, are now available for view on Vimeo.
Byrne explores Christie Walk in Adelaide, Bowden in Adelaide, former Sustainability Awards winner The Commons in Melbourne, and Central Park in Sydney which includes projects by PTW and Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Foster + Partners, Johnson Pilton Walker, Tzannes Studio, Smart Design Studio, Nettletontribe, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and FJMT.
The next six episodes will take an in depth look at the various facets of the White Gum Valley residential estate in Western Australia, which is the biggest living laboratory project ever to be undertaken in Australia.
Over the coming months, the Density by Design web series will follow the development of WGV from construction, to completion, through to occupancy. It will focus on the mechanisms used to achieve low carbon outcomes, their acceptance and uptake, and how to making them mainstream
Make sure to tune in here.
Check out the first four episodes of Density by Design below (descriptions courtesy of Density by Design):
Christie Walk, Adelaide by Paul Downton Architect
Christie Walk, named after the late environmental activist Scott Christie, is a multi-residential infill development on the edge of the Adelaide CBD, accommodating 27 dwellings and approximately 40 residents on a 2,000sqm lot. Dwelling types include apartments, town house and detached cottages.
Kicking off in 1999, Christie Walk is a pioneering project that reflects the ‘eco village’ aspirations of the environmental movement of the day, and this is expressed in the vernacular, materials and community driven process underpinning the development. Nationally recognised and widely visited, Christie Walk is the perfect place to start our journey.
The project began as a development cooperative, led by Urban Ecology Australia. Completed In 2006, the development is home to a mix of original and newer residents, but retains a strong focus on the importance of community.
The Commons, Melbourne by Breathe Architecture
Perched on the rail line in Brunswick, Melbourne, The Commons is a project that is sending ripples throughout the urban development industry. The five story, 24 unit apartment building not only demonstrates design excellence and exceptional sustainability credentials, it’s challenging the very core of how conventional multi-residential housing is being delivered.
Led by Melbourne-based Breathe Architecture, and completed in 2013, The Commons is the prototype of the Nightingale model, which promotes designer-led, rather than profit-led housing. The Commons’ raw, stripped-back style speaks to its authenticity.
The reductionist approach saves materials, maintenance and money. Absent ceilings create greater internal volume, and shared facilities mean more generous living areas. The designer-led process translates to quality, simplicity and detail.
Bowden, Adelaide by various
Located 2.5km from the Adelaide CBD on former industrial land, Bowden is the South Australian Government Development Agency, Renewal SA’s most ambitious development project. The 16ha mixed-use project commenced in 2008 and is forecast to be completed by 2026, targeting 2,500 residential dwellings, 10-12,000sqm of retail space, and approximately 15-20,000sqm of commercial office space.
Bowden demonstrates significant leadership in urban planning, with carefully considered design guidance and review processes. All buildings are required to achieve a 5 Star GBCA Green Star rating and be assessed by an architectural review panel.
As a project that is mid-way through development, it provides a good opportunity to see how considered planning and good design transfer into reality along a continuum spanning from planners, to developers, to architects and consultants, to builders, through to early residents.
Central Park, Sydney by various
Central Park in Sydney’s CBD is a 5.8ha mixed-use precinct that gives us a glimpse of the ‘city of the future’. One where exciting architecture and biophillic design justifiably earn their place in the heart of our cities. Once complete, the former industrial site will yield around 2,400 apartments, 400 hotel rooms, 1,000 student accommodation beds, 6,000 square metres of commercial space and 20,000sqm of retail. One third of the 5.8 hectare site has been devoted to public open spaces.
The project incorporates the flagship One Central Park Tower, designed by French Architectural Firm Ateliers Jean Nouvel (with PTW Architects), featuring an iconic heliostat and extensive green walls. There is also cutting edge precinct-scale utility infrastructure including a tri-generation plant which provides power, heating and cooling energy, and a wastewater treatment plant that processes sewerage into high quality recycled water for local reuse.
Central Park blends modern high density modern development with adaptive use of historic buildings and provision of quality public amenity. It has opened an otherwise inaccessible part of the city and triggered the activation of the surrounding area.