Haiyun Lan



Architecture & Housing




“The Common Ground”

As a result of urban sprawl is the massive demand on housing among urban areas. Housing density within urban area has been drastically increased during the last decades. High density housing within urban area often means vertically stacked apartments, in which residents can barely meet and socialise with their neighbours. Therefore, within urban area, living quality and environment is significantly lower than expected.

Social housing, commonly refers to accommodations that provide both shared facility and private retreat spaces to residents, is a popular choice of living arrangement in the era, as it subsides the phenomena of social isolation. However, at the same time, it also further decreases the quality of living environment, as usually all facilities are shared by heaps of residents. Retreat spaces for residents might only be a tiny bedroom with minimal sunlight and fresh air.
Therefore, a new typology of suburban housing is needed. The scheme aims to provide a new kind of social housing.  As the site is based in White Bay within bays precinct, adjacent to Sydney City, public realm development of the place can be expected. Also, principles of social housing are to share and to live with the public, therefore in the design these principles are adopted.

The design thus aims to provide a proper integration of public and private realm, with sufficient and pleasant public spaces to share, and with nice and cosy retreat spaces to be. In masterplan, the site is designed as pedestrian prioritised area, giving back the waterfront to public domain. Vertically, the built rooftops mimic the original topography status, provides connection between Balmain and the site. In housing arrangement, within clusters all semi private programs are located on ground level to create connection between cluster courtyard and households. Private zones are mainly located upstairs. All households have formal relationship with the community courtyards to share lifestyles.
The “common ground” refers to the social and sharing aspect within the community, as well as the “ground” that created by the built structure to provide connectivity between Balmain area and waterfront of the site.