Fuse Architecture
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The site strategy of splitting the building and creating a central breezeway allowed us the possibility of reorienting all apartments away from the east and west, whilst still achieving 98% natural cross ventilation and 75% of apartments achieving a minimum of 2 daylight hours on the shortest day of the year. Materials, construction method and sustainable design were tailored to the needs and constraints of the traffic-heavy site.

The challenge was to design a vibrant mixed-use residential building, achieving the highest level of amenity for future residents whilst designing out the impacts of site constraints. The site strategy of splitting the building and creating a central breezeway allowed us the possibility of reorienting all apartments away from the east and west, whilst still achieving 98% natural cross ventilation and 75% of apartments achieving a minimum of 2 daylight hours on the shortest day of the year. Materials, construction method and sustainable design were carefully considered, tailored to the needs and constraints of the traffic-heavy site.

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FUSE were selected through the Bayside Council Design Excellence Competition for this important site in Rockdale. As a studio, we sought to explore the latent potential for innovation in multiple dwelling housing and our approach paid serious dividends.

The concept was simple, to find a way to deliver maximum yield for our developer client whilst providing the greatest amenity to future occupants and look great doing it. On a compromised site, sandwiched between a busy arterial road, a train line, and directly under a flight path the technical considerations though complex, were skilfully manipulated to transform inherent constraints into positive design drivers that ultimately helped deliver a practical, confident and beautiful scheme without artistic compromise. Our approach involved a detailed investigation and mapping of the Rockdale CBD and the vibrant Princes Highway retail strip and ultimately set up a contextual framework that allowed the development to fit in its unique setting.

The result is an elegant two tower form linked by a central open breezeway that responds carefully to the environmental constraints specific to the site. It accommodates 91 units close to urban infrastructure and raises the expectation and standard for market housing in the suburbs. In an ode to the vibrancy of the existing public domain, the design challenges reductive development controls to implement a continuation of the active retail on the ground plane. The building is setback as a way of doubling the public domain and prioritises and extends the predominate podium height along the highway. It takes minimal side setbacks to the secondary boundaries and doubles them to allow for improved amenity and apartment aspect which maximises the number of apartments facing north, away from the busy road and towards the distant city views.  An elevated communal courtyard protected from the surroundings acts both a green backdrop and quiet space to retreat to.

The building form is then articulated with the insertion of a central and open breezeway, conceived of as an extension of the communal open space which facilitates informal resident gathering and elevates the daily ritual of leaving and entering each of the homes. The breezeway acts as a formal element splitting the block form into two slender towers. It is veiled with a metallic batten screen to highlight the gesture and demarcate the building entrance. The north tower is pulled over the newly created public domain as a sublime cantilever and the GF retail at the corner is doubled in height as a befitting gesture to signify the entrance to Rockdale and the start of the emerging CBD.

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Location:                  Rockdale, New South Wales
Status:                      Under Construction
Type:                         Multi- Residential / Commercial
Site Area:                 1,696 m²
Gross Floor Area:   15,637 m²
Yield:                         91 apartments + 3 shops