PROJECT INFORMATION

Project:
Homebush Apartments

Status:
Design Concept & DA 2012

Client:
Oretone

Development Manager:
Capital Z

Brief:
650 apartments
68,000 m2 Residential GFA
Carparking for 780 cars
1000 m² Retail GFA

Site:
56-67 Parramatta Road +
14-24 Powell Street
Homebush NSW Australia

CREDITS

Principal in Charge:
Richard Huxley

Design Principal:
Richard Huxley

Project Team Leader:
Cameron Fry

Project Team:
Richard Huxley
Cameron Fry
Kevin Ngundu
Sejin Cheon
Giancarlo Belvisio

DESIGN STATEMENT

The site is located in Homebush near Flemington Markets in between Parramatta Road and the M4 Motorway. The motorway is the major vehicular link running east/west in Sydney and the site is very visible from this elevated freeway. The site is relatively high in terms of Sydney regional terrain. It is approximately 2 kilometres away from Sydney Olympic Park and approximately 14 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD. The site is located in a unique triangular strip of land bounded Homebush Railway line, Centenary Drive and the M4 Motorway. This strip is unique because it is a section of the infamous Parramatta Road that has been an important artery for Sydney traffic and the historical location of many small businesses most notably being car yards. The strip is under–developed and languishes in a state of economic depression and is in desperate need of an injection of new apartments and new commercially viable businesses to service the local community. For more than 20 years local and state governments have sought to find the answer to invigorate this strip and other strips of Parramatta Road without success as the dynamic of large volumes of traffic and poor streetscapes have not provided a conducive environment for new development. The strip is incredibly well serviced from rail and road networks and is surrounded by low scale residential housing and parklands. The parklands and canals ultimately connect downstream to Homebush Bay only 4 kilometres away to the north. Because of these attributes the strip and the site are ideal brownfield redevelopment opportunities. In addition, due to the considerable distance between the strip and site and the low rise housing surrounding them the specific opportunity of high rise residential towers is perhaps more logical in this location than anywhere else in the Greater Metropolitan Sydney. When we were asked to design this project these factors where extremely clear to us and we advocated the creation of tall buildings on the site and moreover we felt with the broader principles at play supported the entire 2 kilometre strip having a series of residential towers. In addition, we recognised that this project could symbolise a spirit of renewal for the local community and become an important watershed moment in the evolution of Parramatta Road.

Our concept for the site was simple, to create three (3) high-rise towers defining two courtyards with two distinct landscape characters. Two (2) of the north/south towers were positioned to address the M4 Motorway with the remaining east/west tower positioned to address Parramatta Road to the south. In the development of this design concept the most important issues were to establish a large-scale architectural order in which we hoped to infuse with quality and innovation. These buildings would be the first of a new high-rise precinct and we want to set a high standard as a benchmark for the buildings that would follow. Further we believed that as the buildings would be clearly visible from Parramatta to the CBD of Sydney the design opportunity was to make a significant contribution to the regional skyline. We conceived of the north/south towers as playing with and moving at the edge of the elevated motorway.

We considered the iconography of dance, walking and movement and determined the idea of “walking towers”. These forms are purposefully thin with broad east and west elements to maximise views and have exaggerated sculptural gestures to convey the movement concept of forward/backward and side-to-side. The external envelope for the north/south towers are clad in perforated, concertina, floor to floor metal screens which both allow residents to modify their living environment whilst at the same time providing a singular sculptural expression for the tower form.

At the larger public domain scale of the motorway and surrounding suburbs these towers will break through a dense tree canopy of existing freeway and parkland to announce or herald the commencement of Strathfield Council and the Homebush precinct. We believe the “walking towers” will become important icons for the local area and Sydney. The east/west tower is smaller and sits directly behind the 1920’s heritage façade of the old cinema building. We created a central entry from Parramatta Road in order to engage the old building fabric as a part of the entry experience. This central entry point allows residents to walk from the train station into the complex and then go to one (1) of the three (3) buildings. Whilst there are separate entries off Powell Street for the north/south towers the centralised entry with its northern courtyard shielded from road noise and surrounding retail areas will great a focal point and place for project. Four storeys above the entry we located the pool ad gym facility which we used to graphically separate the podium from the tower a glass and steel truss structure. The openness of this expression relates to its function and allows local views in all directions. The expression of the east/west tower is a super graphic of the perforated circular screens on the north/south towers and forms an architectural anchor to the surface and form compositions of the 3 tower concept.