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Roseville Centre

This project is an exploration of passive design and density within a hybrid building framework. It’s porous and permeable form, with pathways for breezes and sun, perfectly complements the bushland setting of Ku-ring-gai. The ‘finger’ form is a departure from the conventional, ‘walled’, perimeter block and thin linear courtyard with its comprised apartment amenity. The project revives the modernist themes of replication and diversity to create an invigorating environment for live/work and shop.

Specific issues are traffic noise from vehicles on the Pacific Highway; solar access to living areas; air flow integration of residential entries with shop fronts, apartment layouts in the slim-line forms; the definition of the new public space and lane (the Rifleway); staging and lot amalgamations; and the integration of servicing for shops with the Council car park.

The site is Precinct A of the Roseville Centre, part of an urban renewal area that is footsteps away from Roseville Rail Station. The linear and regular-shaped site is situated between the Pacific Highway and Larkin Lane, on the main ridge overlooking bushland to both the west and east. The site is suitable for dense, shop-top housing, with shops on the ground floor and live/work on the upper levels.

The site, which consists of numerous small titled lots, is currently occupied by an untidy variety of two-storey, shop-top buildings, a through-site pedestrian way (the Rifleway), a mature exotic tree, ground level Council parking, single dwelling lot and RSL Club adjacent to the Memorial Park (not part of the site). The historic Roseville Cinema forms the northern bookend beyond the site and brings an entertainment focus to the centre that can be supported by new shops.

noise + air
The site is affected by heavy traffic noise from the constant stream of vehicles on the Pacific Highway. The main living area balconies are turned to the north-west, away from the Pacific Highway. The indirect traffic noise can be further dampened by acoustic panels on the balcony soffits and glass panels at the balustrades. All live, work and shop areas are naturally, cross-ventilated. The need for air conditioning is eliminated.

solar access + outlook
The proposed north-west orientation of living areas achieves excellent solar access for the apartments that easily satisfy the standards of SEPP 65 and BASIX. The one and two storey apartments have sliding walls and external bathrooms. Direct and oblique views looking west over existing bushland are maintained from the ridge location. The flat roofs are ‘energy farms’ with solar collectors, photovoltaics and self-maintaining succulents.

The architectural design provides finer grain connections for pedestrians from the Roseville Rail Station to the existing and future housing to the west. The upgraded and expanded public domain includes a ‘protected’ public square designed around an existing mature tree with a 20 metre canopy, the existing pedestrian way (the Rifleway) and footway to Larkin Lane.

staging and amalgamation
The site is cut into a number of slim-line building forms and courtyards and can be developed as four parts, with minimum 36 metre frontages, to the maximum ratio of floor space. The building forms provide apartments with cross ventilation, ample natural light, dual aspect and generous balconies. A multi-level public car park is located along the south-west boundary. Private car parking is located in two basement levels under the buildings.

The building expression deals with the question: how diverse do you make the façade of a building with diverse interiors? The external expression and materiality of the building does not refect its internal complexity, but provides a uniform jacket of material restraint. This disguise avoids arbitrary façade elements, or ‘free styling’, common to most multi-unit housing. Yet the fixed and operable metal louvres allow a diverse response to orientation, outlook and building functions. At night the building has a stunning theatrical expression with the varied colours of the galleries and lobbies visible through the external screens.


Type: Live / Work / Hybrid
Location: Pacific Highway, Roseville, Sydney, Australia
Status: Unrealised
Year: 2008
Client: Ku-ring-gai Council
Number storeys: 7
Digital imagery:
Stanisic Architects

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