Public benefit as a driver of good design
Category Large Residential Development | Project Barkly Street, Footscray | Designers Stoll Long
This mixed use project by Yarra Community Housing occupies the site of the historic Barkly Hotel, between a traditional shopping strip and a large public car park to the rear.
To insert a considerable number of apartments (71 in total) on a constrained site, while protecting the existing street character and the privacy of neighbouring sites. To incorporate communal and ESD features within a constrained budget.
The pivotal design element is a new through-site pedestrian walkway, which creates public benefit by bringing people through from the car park to the shops. It also provides an address and entry point for the apartments without needing to demolish or break through the old hotel façade whose front rooms have been retained intact, rather than just a sham façade. Privacy and overlooking issues have been neatly handled by angling the window bays on the side facades, at the same time giving the building a strongly modelled profile. ESD emphasis is on cost-effective passive measures such as cross-ventilation with stairwell venting and external operable shading devices, as well as storm water collection, solar hot water heating, bicycle facilities and a communal roof garden.
This project shows how responding to site context, by retaining the human-scale street front and providing an alternative side access lane, produces a more liveable outcome.