Laura Raiss



Architecture & Housing




Balmain Headlands


In various cities around the world, due to many contingencies such as population increase, housing prices and busy lifestyles, green open spaces and community spaces are decreasing and becoming less important.  Can landscape influence a community and the residents? How can housing use community spaces to benefit its users both physically and mentally? 

In order for cities to be safe, enjoyable and vivacious we need to think of them as interactive and social spaces. Public spaces are often more than just “empty places”, they are the meeting places, the children’s playground, community garden, the mother’s getaway.  This is where relationships are formed, and give meaning to a community. It is the open spaces, the freedom of movement at a pedestrian level, the comfort of being with nature that shape our cities. By putting the pedestrian’s needs above motor vehicles, the site is completely accessible and open offers a journey as one moves through the dwellings.  

This project investigates the role landscape and corridors play in architecture and urban design. These are evident in the public spaces such as the public timber seating area, and through the permeable winding pathway’s where one can not see straight through the site.  The accentuation of natural surroundings, and creating social hubs was at the forefront of the design process.  One will stumble upon a reading nook, a community garden, accidently running into their neighbors, creating conversation and beginning to form relationships.  The site will draw in visitors with a community centre and farmers market to create a stronger community and create a link between the site with Balmain and neighboring suburbs. There is a social responsibility and by reclaiming these urban spaces for people is part of how we can humanize our cities and create stronger communities.