Hon Cheung Chung
Architecture & High Performance Technology
How can suburban qualities be incorporated into hyperdensity?
It’s widely recognised that the suburban model of the 20th Century is unsustainable. Sydney has embraced this horizontal suburban growth throughout much of its recent history, facilitating a loss of biodiversity, huge commuting times, and a growing carbon footprint. In response, high density urban living is becoming more popular, but demographics tell us that young singles and couples living in the city often move out to the suburbs when children appear on the scene. The suburban dream of the stand‐alone house, large yard and front garden still prevails. With this in mind, this project seeks to explore the spatial and lifestyle qualities of suburban living, and capture these within an urban high‐rise typology.
Three main components of suburban living have been captured in the design. Backyards and green space form a huge appeal to suburban living, yet it would be impossible to impose this ratio of private green space in a tower. To overcome this, the design is broken down into four‐storey ‘vertical villages’ with each sharing a large garden space. To make this economically viable, the area of this garden is determined by the equivalent area of balconies the units would receive according to the Sydney Apartment Design Guide. Occupants sacrifice a small private balcony, and see a large shared garden in return.
The front garden typically acts as a defensible space in the suburban realm. This is captured in this project as an outdoor dining space for each unit, raised for privacy, and providing overlooking protection to the community gardens. In terms of materiality, the brickwork of the suburbs is reinterpreted as a series of terracotta fins on the façade, providing a visual link back to the suburbs. The arrangement of these fins is influenced by studies of view, aesthetics and shade from the east and west façade.