a broader social agenda drives apartment design

Yagoona NSW, 2009

A bespoke, brickwork ‘limb’ extends into the park, providing access and mediation between sun and shade.

The 2009 About Face competition was focused on the theme of socially responsive architecture. Our submission received a Commendation Award and the Peer First Prize. The design we submitted transformed disused and neglected land into functional and valuable public space at Yagoona Town Centre.

Our entry "engaged with a broader social agenda, as well as the macro urban issues experienced in many cities and towns across Australia. Their proposal aimed to create a truly delightful series of spatially rich and materially seductive forms, which left the jury believing this entry, provided a rich and versatile answer to the challenge presented." (Jury citation)

The key move is a new civic ground plane that stitches each side of the tracks together. A generous bespoke brickwork arm extends into the park providing access and a place to sit and watch the match. North facing garden rooms housed in the building facade provide micro social opportunities for residents. Visual connection extends from the corridors through these garden rooms and out over the surrounding suburbs. A filigree of brick screen mediates between harsh sun and dappled shade.

The concept for this project is repeatable across a series of under-utilised residual lands that are found around many outer-suburb railway stations. In these areas we see latent potential for exploration of a new housing and renewal typology.

The pedestrian-prioritised ground plane formalises civic life. Through a series of new connected surfaces the highway, station park and local businesses are reconnected. Spatial divisions within the building provide adaptive capacity permitting multiple future configurations. Multiple home businesses, family apartments and studio units are all possible.

By day a singular form asserts itself as it straddles the railway line. At night the scale of the facade is reduced to the evidence of occupation - a hit-and-miss pattern of filtered light through brick screens.

Client: Bankstown City Council Services: Architecture

Awards: 2009 About Face Competition: Commendation and Peer First Prize

Project Team: DRAW, Adam Russell, John de Manincor, Greg Bachmayer, Sally Hsu