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    New development to regenerate ‘neglected’ Sydney suburb Eastlakes

    Stephanie Stefanovic

    crown development architectureCrown Group’s latest development, Eastlakes Live, is a residential and retail complex that will include more than 400 high-end apartments and a new Town Centre, aiming to regenerate Eastlakes and redefine it as a vibrant urban hub. A&D talks to lead architect Richard Francis Jones from FJMT. 

    1. What is the design brief for this development?

    The brief called for the redevelopment of the existing Eastlakes local centre which comprises two properties on either side of Evans Avenue; one adjacent to Eastlakes Reserve, and one overlooking the Australian Golf Club on the north side of Gardeners Road. While offering a diverse and appealing mix of ethnic delicatessens, the existing shopping centre at Eastlakes has essentially been unaltered since the 1970s and thus expectations for positive change from the community are very high. 

    FJMT were tasked to conceptualise a new and vibrant place for living, recreation, shopping and entertainment. The new centre will include a fresh produce market square, specialty restaurants, retail, medical centre, child care and library; and the addition of approximately 600 apartments to a neighbourhood that has been relatively neglected for several decades.

    2. What are some of the most important/interesting design features?

    Landscape and Gardens

    The green landscape setting of Eastlakes Reserve, the Golf course and lakes are not only great assets to Eastlakes Live, they are an inspiration for the architecture, interiors and landscape design. The colour palettes both inside and out are inspired by the soft, layered textures of Eucalypts, and the private and shared garden space for the residents will provide lush landscape environments that extend this beautiful green foreground to the city skyline.

    Water-Light Oculi crown development architecture FJMT

    The public spaces of the Shopping Malls are lit through a series of Oculi that draw in natural light. This light is filtered through the water of the landscaped reflective pools, to give a ‘dancing light’ to the spaces below and a tranquil sense to the communal residential gardens. Inspired by the stars that form the Southern Cross constellation, these ponds allow rippled sunlight to penetrate into the mall spaces below. The constellation of oculi are designed as an orientation device within the malls, in reference to the role that these stars played in the navigation of early explorers to Australia.

    Great Western Verandah

    The South Site interfaces with Eastlakes Reserve by way of an elevated west-facing veranda and will become home to ten specialty restaurants overlooking a revitalised park. The Western Veranda maintains a north-south connection for pedestrian connectivity through the location, whilst the Market Square, located in the centre of the project, maintains connectivity in the east-west direction.

    At the intersection of these routes is Racecourse Plaza, a large quasi-public space for events and brand activation. The architecture of the Western Veranda and Racecourse Plaza, with its giant hybrid canopy-cum-pergola, is a scaling device that mediates between the height of the residential buildings above the podium, and the park, with its expressive lines weaving through into the Market Square to emphasise the openness of the centre and its indoor/outdoor connectivity.

    3. Eastlakes Live has been compared a lot to Top Ryde City Living – what are the differences?

    While similar in scale and mixed-use intent, Eastlakes Live is intrinsically designed from a ‘placemaking' point of view, and maximises the porosity of the development at ground level. An enhanced public domain is key to the success of the retail and community functions within the new centre. By straddling Evans Avenue, the project also has the potential to reinforce the “high street” cafe culture that is an important part of Eastlakes social domain.

    4. Are there any sustainable features to the design? 

    This is an environmentally-responsible development that seeks to create a sense of wellness for both occupants and visitors, through a closeness to nature and the integration of natural systems. Importantly it is a project that makes living local, through the integration of shopping, recreation, entertainment, and amenity with apartments in a garden setting. The project includes ride-share concepts, end-of-trip cycling facilities, solar harvesting and rainwater harvesting. The waste management systems for the retail and hospitality component are designed to minimise landfill and trip generation. A “future-flexible” approach to the air-conditioning of the market square itself reflects the integration of natural systems.

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