ArchitectsFrancis-Jones Morehen Thorp
Location577 New South Head Road, Rose Bay NSW 2029, Australia
Interior DesignGarth Barnett Designers
Landscape ArchitectFrancis-Jones Morehen Thorp
Builder GroupBuilt Holdings Pty Ltd.
Development GroupVicon Properties
Text description provided by the architects. Our inspiration for this project came from the unique nature of the site, a gently slopping landscape right at the edge of the waterfront of Rose Bay. The natural sandstone walls of the bay, the grey Ironbark of the boardwalks and wharfs, the great figs and richness of the landscape and foliage as it meets the bay have been the elements we have looked to for inspiration in the design of these apartments.
The project has been conceived as two separate but related residential accommodation types: a series of individual garden apartments merging with the topography and landscape; and a series of generous single level apartments in a cubic pavilion structure.
The garden apartments are nestled into the gently sloping landscape of the site. Each level of these apartments opens onto terraces, courtyards and gardens. They are entered through a gazebo-like entrance conservatory that gives views over the garden to the bay. The apartments are deeply nestled into the landscape for insulation and thermal comfort to the interiors, and are characterised through their garden setting. The materials of these apartments, stone, timber and masonry emphases the relationship to the landscape while the large glazed doors and windows open to the view and fresh air.
The pavilion apartments are created within a timber cubic structure with an expressed timber frame and louvre screens. This carefully proportioned pavilion is inspired by the nearly waterfront structures and wharfs made from ironbark and weatherboards. Automated louvres, sunscreens and large operable glazing shield the interiors from the sun, filter daylight and modulate vistas towards the Bay in response to the varying climate conditions and preferences of the occupants.
Numerous courtyard, terrace and landscape spaces are easily accessible for residents from which to enjoy the immediate and surrounding landscape. Furthermore, the design and layout of the residences enables generous garden areas, which in turn, create the sense space and the feeling that the landscape surrounds and is accessible from every part of the dwelling.
The visual amenity and sense of space is further enhanced by the adjoining heritage listed Rose Bay house, adjoining public reserve and pedestrian access way, close proximity to Cranbrook Oval and filtered views north to Rose Bay and across the harbour.
A ramp from Rose Bay Avenue to the front doors not only enable easy access, but also allow residents and visitors to stroll leisurely through the landscape on the approach to each dwelling. Similarly, an appropriate area is provided for a ‘front door’ approach, giving each building its own entry lobby adjoining lush garden. This is achieved by two free standing entry pavilions that signify the entries and contribute to the amenity and landscape approach.
Light court spaces have been integrated into the landscape. These provide access to natural light and ventilation for adjoining interior spaces, as well as providing another outdoor living space. These ‘outdoor rooms’ provide a link between indoor and outdoor areas. The courts have been designed as a series of cascading green terraces, planted with a variety of native ferns, shrubs, ground covers and climbers.
A substantial portion of the landscape is ‘on-structure’, consisting of integrated planters on rooftop and balcony spaces. The on-structure planting allows a greater degree of vegetative cover for the site and is responsible for the ‘green roof’ character of the development. The benefits of this are that the site appears to be covered with extensive lush plantings when viewed from adjoining areas and from within the development the planting provides amenity and privacy.
A major focus of the landscape has been to improve the future character and maximise the use of indigenous plant species. New Angophora costata (Smooth-barked Apple) trees have been planted to enhance the western boundary as well as integrate with the adjacent triangular public park. A row of deciduous trees between the apartments and terraces provide amenity and scale to the development. While the avenue of Lophostemon confertus (Brush Box) trees along New South Head Road have been reinstated to provide a bold landscape statement at the on the ‘front face’ of the development. Plant selection has focused on native species since they are well adapted to the
local climate, will result in much hardier planting than many other species due to their resilience to local climate extremes, can aid in greatly reduced maintenance costs and reduced irrigation and nutrient requirements, for their contribution as a resource for urban wildlife and to make reference to the natural environment of Rose Bay. Other factors considered in the plant selection included hardy plants that are suitable to a coastal environment, plants that are suited to a variety of light conditions and species that have varied foliage colour, texture and scent.
The planting design has also focused on providing a ‘layered’ planting selection, equal consideration has been given to canopy cover, under storey and groundcover planting to ensure a landscape with visual interest at all levels.