Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Arena Apartments in Queensland, Australia by Ellivo Architects
May 11th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Ellivo Architects
The Arena Apartments development in South Brisbane is unlike anything else in Brisbane. Designed for Sydney based developer, Galileo Group, the favourable site offered an elevated North East orientation with expansive views towards the city. Its distinctive form has been generated as a direct response of overlaying the functional requirements of the brief with the specific site constraints, including a new cross block link connection through to West End, and the requirement to maintain views through the site for the office building behind.
Responding to the generous north eastern facing site the design includes two separate tower and podium forms that create and define a semi-public urban courtyard. This courtyard space is the heart of the project, incorporating public café and restaurant spaces, residents’ recreational facilities, and private residence courtyards. The tower form floating above is rotated at ninety degrees to the podium maximising city facing units while allowing for the view corridor for the existing commercial building behind. The two tower elements are supported by the large feature ‘chopstick’ columns that protrude down through the courtyard landing on their logical structural points within the basement.
Connectivity has been reinforced through the site by extending the cross block link from Browning Street. The location of apartments addressing the courtyard and the active café frontages ensure casual surveillance of the new pedestrian street. The traditional apartment tower entry experience has also been re-defined to draw all traffic through the central courtyard and enter the buildings from the internal street facilitating and encouraging further social interaction.
The podium and tower elements in each building are differentiated by not only their formal expression but also their material selections. Brick, tile and operable screening elements have been used through the podium areas, anchoring the base and offering fine grained detail, appropriate to the context. The tower has been given a cleaner expression, with glass and aluminium used extensively, all enclosed within the solid frame that oriented the apartments towards the city. Inside the apartments, the same quality is continued with gallery style track lighting, homogenous commercial vinyl plank flooring and full wall glazing to living areas maximising light and airflow. A large range of apartment types and sizes was created to suit diverse lifestyles that can adapt to the users’ needs.
Providing an enduring contribution to the neighbourhood, the development incorporates many sustainable offerings through the use of first design principles and a strong focus on the social interaction of residents and the public alike.
The Arena Apartments development in South Brisbane has been generated as a response to the unique site constraints. It is unlike anything else is South Brisbane and its strong bold form makes a real statement in the vibrant South Brisbane community.
The rotated podium and tower form has been designed to take advantage of the expansive view lines, allow views though the site from neighbouring buildings and creates an urban courtyard that contributes to both the public and private amenity. The expression of podium form gives a sense of connection to the local context through the use of natural and fine-grained materials, while the tower provides a cleaner, more refined aesthetic. The building entries are centrally accessed from the internal pedestrian street reinforcing the connection with the public realm.
Inside the apartments, the same quality is continued with gallery style track lighting, homogenous commercial vinyl plank flooring and full wall glazing to living areas maximising light and airflow. A large range of apartment types and sizes was created to suit diverse lifestyles that can adapt to the users’ needs.
The Arena Apartments offers a positive contribution towards enduring architecture through both its re-invention of how people use and interact within a high density residential building and also through the well-considered use of first design principles.
Using the cross block link as a real opportunity to offer something different to the South Brisbane neighbourhood, Arena Apartments seeks to enhance the social interaction at a neighbourhood scale by blurring the lines between the public and private domains. The grand courtyard space is the heart of the project that offers a multitude of activity supporting social interaction and casual surveillance. It has been designed as an intentionally porous ground plane converting the existing 100% impervious site into a large percentage of planters and landscaped areas to help reduce the urban heat island effect.
The passive design principles that have also been considered and designed into the buildings include orientation towards the north and east where possible, deep overhangs, performance glazing, operable screening elements for user control, minimal glazing to the western facades, ceiling fans to all bedrooms, reduced glare through careful use of materials, cross ventilations where possible. These contributions have resulted in thermal performance ratings well beyond the minimal building standards.
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