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    Grimshaw's Euro-style courtyard apartment brings amenity and relief to Waterloo residents

    Nicholas Rider

    Grimshaw Architects are adopting a European-style central courtyard apartment model for their latest Sydney project.  

    The site is part of the Lachlan Precinct Masterplan for Waterloo which is one of a number of areas in Sydney’s south, including the Green Square urban renewal precinct, undergoing rapid urban regeneration. With a disparity in the character and quality of neighbouring buildings, the site offers a chance to introduce a building of high quality that can redefine its urban locality and act as an important catalyst for regeneration.

    Grimshaw_1.jpgGrimshaw_2-1.jpgPurposing a specific function to each elevation ensures that the building does not have a front and a back but rather engages with its context to all sides. Images: Grimshaw/City of Sydney 

    Grimshaw have proposed a six storey building (one retail level and five levels of residential above) in Lachlan Street that provides much-needed high-density living but with a high level of amenity. Issues of privacy, noise and overshadowing to the public realm have been considered to ensure they meet their aims. The building is expressed as a simple cube, with residential apartments arranged around the perimeter and a green landscaped garden at the centre. Proposed plans encompass 46 apartments with a mix of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments.

    The internal courtyard of the building will help give the building its unique identity and will provide amenity, relief and opportunities for socialising. It will also offer a passively cooled internalised local microclimate which permits for effective cross ventilation of all apartments.

    Grimshaw_7-1.jpgGrimshaw_6-1.jpgThe internal courtyard provides a passively cooled internalised local microclimate which allows for effective cross ventilation of all apartments. Air quality is enhanced by the natural processes of bio filtration. Images: Grimshaw/City of Sydney

    The majority of apartments have windows that can open both to the courtyard and the external façade, except the corner apartments that have oblique cross-ventilation. The open lobbies will allow air movement into and through apartments.

    Unlike typical residential planning which is constrained to deep and artificially lit internal spaces, daylight is maximised with Grimshaw’s design – all living spaces and bedrooms are located on the perimeter of the building. Daylight is further enhanced by the internal courtyard.

    The balconies that wraparound the entire perimeter have been dimensioned to allow winter solar penetration into apartments, but to prevent excessive summer heat gains.

    Traffic noise is mitigated by the Lachlan Street façade that has been designed to deliver additional acoustic performance. On this elevation, balustrades have been designed to lessen noise transmission, and the implementation of performance glazing and acoustic soffit panels, will further acoustic amenity for residents.

    The primary material proposed for this project is a Class 2 finish concrete cantilevered balcony and plinth, distinctive in appearance and detail. Reinforcing and delineating these horizontal concrete elements are the secondary façade elements; the rhythmic white balustrade, the recessed perimeter planters and the glazed screens with blinds. Window frames will be a flat charcoal anodized finish to provide definition against the concrete. 

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