Yagoona Apartments | Understated Amenity

The plan provides a clear strategy disciplined around the necessary sourcing of light and privacy to each room but enabling sound amenity…This is an exemplar development through its plan. The simple exterior walls made of precast concrete enable a lesson in architectural composition and simplicity; with inboard balconies and a simple rectangular form, the building is able to economically redress the now familiar poor planning in buildings of a similar type and economic constraint.

The plan provides a clear strategy disciplined around the necessary sourcing of light and privacy to each room but enabling sound amenity despite the simple plan and the lack of surface area in facades. The facades take the disciplined approach of one highlight colour and one understating colour to offer a presence to the street that is at once contextual and new.
This project rationalises the constraints in which it is working and achieves its strength through those constraints to offer a simple, though not obvious, lesson about the economy and richness of form in a plan.
Jury Citation: Multiple Housing NSW Architecture Awards 2010

Context & Design Brief
As the first apartment building to be designed and built under Bankstown Council’s new Yagoona Town Centre plans, this development presented the opportunity to establish a benchmark. The new apartments have been designed with an eye to the future development of Yagoona whilst remaining sympathetic to the current context. Of foremost concern was achieving high quality residential apartments with good natural light, access to sun and natural ventilation whilst maintaining a functional layout and generous balcony space. It was import to ensure this amenity would continue into the future, despite the potential for taller neighbours. It was, therefore, important to remain cognisant of these potential impacts of the envisaged higher density developments in the town centre. All of this was undertaken in a context where consideration of broader issues of urban design, amenity, delight, and architectural expression are secondary to the conventions and tighter budgets commensurate with developments in western Sydney.

Design Approach
The apartment design has been conceived about two ideas or design strategies that were developed concurrently. The first was to step the built mass in height down from the highway, and simultaneously create a central shared courtyard through the arrangement of building volumes. The second idea was to recess the private balconies (or loggia spaces), within the volume of the building. The precast concrete construction was then designed to further create a richer, complex expression to the buildings.

Design Outcome
The completed development sits comfortably within the current context. The generous shared landscape contributes to both the amenity of site and streetscape alike. Strong volumes are punctuated by bold panels of colour, the sun’s shadowplay within the recessed balconies and across the cast-in texture of the concrete. Apartments are assiduously planned with the majority of habitable rooms arranged around recessed balconies. In turn, the balconies provide both oblique and direct solar access and outlook, improved privacy, as well as improving the quality of natural ventilation.

In these ways a project has been developed that rewards at all scales, from the strong and positive new presence in the Yagoona Town Centre, down to the delightful, functional rooms and private balconies of the apartments.