Monthly Archives: August 2010

URBAN DENSITY & BUILDING HEIGHT

Since this blog began we have been attempting to point out the disconnect between building height and development density.

Our qualitative assessment of two inner urban areas of Brisbane (Newstead & Petrie Bight) showed the diametrically opposed urban form characteristics of each area (podium/tower high-rise type vs. low-rise perimeter block form) and offered some value judgements on the relative merits of each type in terms of the actual environment created for residents.

See our post of 13 May 2010  – 

…Inner city Brisbane – a few comments on density & height… https://neylanarchitecture.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/

and our further post of 27 July 2010  – 

 … Brisbane urban renewal – higher density or higher views…  https://neylanarchitecture.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/

Since then we have discovered a useful reinforcement of our judgement in a recent study which provides a quantitative assessment of  ten world cities undertaken to inform a Structure Plan being prepared for Southbank (Melbourne). Key outcomes include :

  • HIGHER BUILDINGS DO NOT DELIVER HIGHER DENSITIES THAN MID-RISE BUILDINGS (up to 12 floors)
  • QUALITY OF STREET INTERFACE HAS A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH BUILDING HEIGHT AND TYPOLOGY

Go to this link to view the complete document which uses a comprehensive set of metrics to arrive at some interesting conclusions.

http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutMelbourne/ProjectsandInitiatives/MajorProjects/Documents/03_SouthbankStructurePlan%20Report_UrbanDensityStudy.pdf

Here is a one page summary of the report.

It can also be viewed on-line at

 http://unlandscaped.architecturemedia.com/unlandscaped/resources/entries/2010/018.pdf

SCRUMPTIOUS

Appealing candidate

Australia’s National Parliamentary Elections are happening this weekend. A local food outlet came up with a creative way of linking its product to the event.

Should Engineers be involved with Residential Master Planning?

A common problem today is the prevalence of the generic masterplan set out by engineers for new housing estates. These plans generally show a lack of empathy and knowledge of contemporary urban design philosophy, resulting in more of the wasteful and bland builders estates causing the loss of neighbourhood and the increase of urban sprawl. Lets analyze the typical plan received below:

Original masterplan by civil engineer

 1. The huge amount of roadway. This increases cost per Lot, reduces usable green space, causes stormwater run-off issues etc etc. 

2. House types laid out in rows typical of European row housing, with no thought about orientation and the Australian climate. 

3. The tiny yards and poor orientation, with houses overlooking each others private yard space. 

4. The public green space is surrounded by high garden walls allowing loitering. There is no attempt to relate to the green space or to design for security. Why turn your back on the park? 

Now have a look at the same site approached with the correct principles: 

Architectural Masterplan

1.  Reduced hard surface roadway. The roadway between the units is a permeable surface.
2. Exactly the same number of the same unit types (in fact they could be increased).
3. The majority of houses now have the correct orientation.
4. Yard space has sigbificantly increased but with less overlooking issues.
5. House clusters have a unique address (as opposed to long boring rows) and form a community.
6. Changing orientation of the houses is aesthetically pleasing.
7. Car garages are hidden from the main street front, allowing front yards, improved pedestrian access and improved visual security.
8. The green space is accessed from the road and is not a place that will encourage loitering.

Typical dwelling cluster

Wallaby Al Baxter Architect

Wallaby prop Al Baxter has graduated as an Architect and has set up this very interesting blog:

http://www.alastairbaxter.com/