The apartment units at Newington provide a well defined built edge between the Olympic Village and Millennium Park. The units are very much on public view, particularly during the Olympic Games, and the designs are intended to provide appropriate streetscape relationships with the adjacent single dwelling developments. The unit types are all “through” apartments and have been devised to take advantage of site cross-falls, mainly by stepping the building section and incorporating terraces and gardens. This results in simple but varied unit types, providing each precinct with an individual character. Entrances and stairwells are well defined and the street level scale is approximately that of the two storey house blocks on the opposite side of the street. The unit buildings are simple masses without applied “features”. The massing and facades are generated by the plans and sections. Any applied elements such as louvres, sunscreens and pergolas are simple responses to environmental control issues. Two storey maisonettes are used to break up the roofline to avoid an over-monolithic development. The buildings take advantage of the site?s topography to create variety and to integrate the buildings with their sites. Carparking is provided in naturally ventilated semi-basements. Unit designs maximise solar access whilst maintaining outlook.
This is given to the Apartments at Newington to acknowledge their outstanding urban qualities and the fact that multiple-housing - with its larger scale and specialised planning, design and construction demands - is a major growth area for architectural practice Australia-wide, in both temperate and tropical zones. The design of the detached house, a celebrated practice and study of Robin Boyd’s, has long been properly served by the Robin Boyd Award for Housing. The Jury is of the view that multiple housing could be well served by a Romberg Award, so named to acknowledge Boyd’s partner Frederick Romberg’s pioneering work in apartment design. The Apartments at Newington would almost certainly have been regarded by Romberg himself as making a major contribution not only at Homebush - where they provide a coherent built edge between the Olympic Village and Millennium Park - but also to current standards of excellence in Australian architecture. The buildings are generally three storey walk-up units above an in-ground car park with occasional two storey maisonettes punctuating the roof line. A cohesive village edge is achieved by the use of restricted materials and colour palettes, and the linearity of the development has been cleverly reduced by breaking the buildings into varying size blocks of four to ten apartments per level. Their simple flat roof forms rely on massing for scale and applied functional elements for adornment. Important aspects of the whole concept are the methodical break-down of building mass to residential scale, the maintenance of visual and acoustic privacy, solar access in winter and shaded or restricted solar penetration in summer. The apartments set a benchmark for multiple housing developments, responding carefully to urban values and achieving marked urbanity as a consequence.
Images: Patrick Bingham-Hall