With our industry in the thick of Awards season, Arcadia Landscape Architecture is thrilled with the recognition The Platform has received so far. To date this recently completed project has received the following honours:
- Best in Affordability in NSW/ACT in the UDIA Awards for Excellence
- Silver in the Landscape Design category of the 2015 Sydney Design Awards
- Finalist in the 2015 Think Brick Awards – Commercial category
Arcadia Landscape Architecture worked on the landscape design for The Platform, which provided 88 designer affordable housing apartments for essential city workers on lower incomes. Located at North Eveleigh, the project was for CityWest Housing, a not-for-profit specialising in providing quality, affordable housing.
About the Project
Situated within the distinctive Carriageworks Precinct, The Platform site is of high historic, aesthetic and technological significance. Arcadia was briefed to design open spaces which would retain the Victorian and industrial heritage of the workshops, with an emphasis on creating zones for residents to gather and interact.
CityWest Housing (CWH) is a not-for-profit, community based organisation, established in 1994, with a charter to provide long-term, secure affordable housing for rent. CWH prides itself on creating buildings that are equal to, or better, in design, appearance and quality than other residential flats in the immediate vicinity of their developments, to ensure that CWH affordable housing can only ever be seen as quality residential accommodation.
Length of project
May 2013 – March 2015
Unique to this brief, was the way CWH highlighted the role of a Community Liaison Officer who has the responsibility for fostering sharing and engagement within the resident community. The aim is to encourage a healthier, happier internal community and Arcadia was asked to create a dynamic, cultural space for all to enjoy. It was essential that Arcadia’s designs provided adaptable spaces, with room for passive play, exercise or simply relaxing, including areas for gardening and growing vegetables and herbs.
Context and materiality
The setting for The Platform development is rich in context, surrounded with adaptive reuse and heritage built form. The predominance of brick, concrete and weathered steel reflects the prior functions of the site and situates it within the continuum of urban development in Sydney.
In line with Master Plan principles, Arcadia’s landscape design interpreted the maintenance shed tracks that once crossed this site, through a combination of concrete and steel edging to create a courtyard that draws the character of the surrounds into the site from the east.
Once the Arcadia team realised the potential for the existing original elements left on site from its previous industrial use, they jumped through hoops to repurpose and recycle the materials. The result is a range of decorative and useful elements which give authenticity to the design, as well as a providing a cost-effective and sustainable solution. Elements include:
- Reuse of salvaged timber beams from the original building for seating benches, expressed decking bearers and pergola uprights;
- Repurposing an old air tank as a water feature;
- Creating decorative elements from original railway ticket stamps, warehouse lighting and machinery; and
- Recycling old train platform benches to use for seating within the landscape design.
The result is a setting that connects residents to the unique heritage of The Platform site whilst contributing to the social atmosphere. Residents are able to make use of the following open spaces:
- Courtyard : Designed as the primary social space for The Platform community, the Courtyard’s design reflects the heritage of the Carriageworks precinct, with embedded steel edging giving a sense of the rail tracks of the past. The Courtyard includes a range of seating, a communal vegetable garden, turf open space, raised timber deck, gravel courtyard and gathering courtyard with movable furniture.
- Roof Terrace: With local and city views, this breakout space will offer year round amenity with ample solar access. The rooftop includes shade structures and planting to allow for localised microclimate control, movable tables, chairs and daybeds for use by groups of all sizes, an outdoor kitchen and a communal vegetable garden.
- The Streetscape: areas on the northern and western street frontages provide space for residents and locals to enjoy the winter sun with the installation of large timber seating elements. At entries, the paving hosts a series of original steel ticket stamps embedded into the surface, connecting the site with the history of the area, with unused tracks still visible in the surface of the passing road.
- Urban Forest: this precinct will be characterised by a landscape which encourages biodiversity in a post-industrial area of Sydney which traditionally has a constrained ecological integrity. Utilising native and indigenous trees, the urban forest provides shelter and habitat for local fauna and stormwater filtration during storm events. The canopy will help to moderate the local climate – slowing wind and reducing the urban heat island effect during the summer months.
The fact that The Platform is receiving such positive recognition in different Award categories shows that the project team, which includes Architectus and Richard Crookes Construction, has helped deliver a project that residents will be proud to live in. Arcadia looks forward to watching the landscape mature and seeing the materials weather and further adapt to their surroundings.