PROJECT INFORMATION

Project:
Princess Highway Apartments

Status:
Development Approval Stage

Brief:
486 residential apartments
Car parking for 614 cars
Circa. 4000 m² Retail GFA

Site:
591 - 597 Princes Highway,
Rockdale NSW Australia

CREDITS

Principal in Charge:
Richard Huxley

Design Principal:
Richard Huxley

Project Team Leader:
Richard Wilkinson

Project Team:
Richard Huxley
Richard Wilkinson
Kim Nguyen
Quetzal diaz de Leon
Garvan O’Gara
James Farquharson
Siem Salem

DESIGN STATEMENT

The 1ha site is located on Princes Highway, Rockdale approximately 10 mins drive south west from Sydney Airport, 30 mins from the CBD and is 400m from the Rockdale Train Station. The site is bounded to the east by the Princes Highway, to the north by Subway Road (a minor local road), a drainage channel to the south and an area of 3 storey walk up apartment buildings to the west. The site is also on the southern edge of the Local Government Area (LGA)’s and forms part of Rockdale’s southern gateway. The site is currently used as a car dealership and service centre for Stewart Toyota and has been in operation for many years. The site is criss-crossed by a number of major water and sewerage easements that create a series of impediments and design challenges for the configuration built form, basement construction and vehicular access. Due to the proximity to the airport there is a vertical limitation to future buildings in the form of the Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) which means that buildings need to be contained within a specific Australian Height Datum (RL 52.34 AHD) limiting the height of buildings on the site.

Our architectural brief was to create an optimal residential development on the site that integrated a substantial public open space on site with through-site connections in both north-south and east-west directions and create a benchmark for apartment and environmental design and innovation. With the site’s longest street frontage to the north the opportunity was afforded to create a central park space facing due north and completely open to Subway Road and then locate buildings around that central park space to create a sense of place and community. This strategy allows the central park to be protected from southerly winds and traffic from the Princes Highway. The residential entries and one retail shop are located mid-way along the central park space. We have located a minor amount of retail/ showroom space on the Princes Highway/Subway Road corner only so not to detract from the commercial viability of the main Rockdale Town Centre retail strategy being pursued by Council.

The architectural concept involves 3 similar shaped buildings of differing sizes to create a “family of forms” with the primary two buildings being located east and west of the central park space and the minor third building being located further west. Each of the two primary buildings have been connected with a bridge link style structure over a number of the lower levels to create an cradling or podium effect around the south part of the central park space. The east and west buildings have atriums and these interior spaces are punctuated with corridors or natural light and ventilation. These design strategies ensure a high level of environmental performance for the buildings but the segmented floor plans allow each building to be broken down into 5 different elements which provide the opportunity to express a varied architectural character and break down the apparent scale, bulk and mass of the development.