Winding through the estate on a 35-degree day, streets are empty, but the mechanical hum of airconditioners murmurs in the air, a sound sustaining the people concealed in houses on either side. Bisley Place House is at the end of this street. Here, children are running to and fro—not just the inhabitants, but neighborhood children, visitors from across fences. The aroma of fresh cooking carries unobstructed on the breeze from courtyard to curb. The ritual of cooking and meals happens right here on the street edge, a place for community. The insular “hot boxes” germane to estates are not the fault of builders and property owners. Covenant writers—those charged with maintaining the consistency of the estate—prescribe minimum total floor area, garage space, façade materials, and roof pitch. But imagining between the lines of a building covenant presents another opportunity: A covenant as palette only. From this, spaces and materials can be put together in ways that optimise places for the people who use them.
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