‘GODZILLAS IN THE SUBURBS’

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CAAN Photo:  Chinese developer JQZ, Prime Precinct, Waterloo Road, Macquarie Park; Ryde LGA … a Precinct within a Precinct

FROM the perspective of the Electorate, the ratepayers and taxpayers … both the ‘taller slim’ apartment towers and ‘dumpy buildings’ of massive Precincts have a huge negative impact on what were ‘our neighbourhoods’

The Architect may well have a ‘grand vision’ beautiful even … but the reality, it would appear, is somewhat different, isn’t it?

BECAUSE ‘They, the deve-loper’ always want more $$!

AND the consequences have been borne out by the 85 per cent defective builds on completion!

P.S. CJ, Councils are there to work for their ratepayers, and both Councils and Ratepayers have been disempowered, it would appear, by political donations influencing our governments …

Godzillas in the suburbs’: The truth behind Sydney’s ugly apartment blocks

Andrew Taylor
By Andrew Taylor

July 28, 2019

Suburbs across Sydney are scarred with “big, fat, dumb” apartment buildings that provide poor living spaces for residents, according to two of the city’s leading architects.

Philip Thalis, who is also a City of Sydney councillor, accused developers of pursuing profits by cramming apartments into buildings with excessive footprints.

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‘Godzilla’ apartment blocks springing up in suburbs across Sydney.CREDIT:FAIRFAX MEDIA

“What worries me is these overblown buildings, these Godzillas in the suburbs, are a really bad model,” he said.

Chris Johnson, the chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, a group representing the development industry, said councils and restrictive planning rules were to blame for “dumpy buildings”.

“Councils need to be more flexible with height to encourage slimmer towers,” he said.

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CAAN Photo: ‘Ryde Garden’ regarded by the neighbourhood as an eyesore … perhaps apart from the ‘visually impaired’ …?

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CAAN Photo: ‘Ryde Garden’ by Chinese developer Country Garden

Shaun Carter, a past president of the NSW branch of the Australian Institute of Architects, said tall, thin towers were preferable to lower, bulkier buildings: “We know these qualities make better buildings, better streets and better cities.”

Architect and City of Sydney councillor Philip Thalis is critical of apartment buildings with large footprints, which he called "Godzillas in the suburbs".
Architect and City of Sydney councillor Philip Thalis is critical of apartment buildings with large footprints, which he called “Godzillas in the suburbs”.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

But squat buildings are cheaper to construct, Mr Carter said. “The less external envelope you have, the less glass, the less you have to insulate and waterproof and the less expensive materials you use.

“This is clearly beyond some builders and developers in Sydney at present,” he said.

Steve Mann, the chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW, said developers were constrained by planning rules set by councils and the state government.

“Currently regulatory authorities are so prescriptive with controls and development tax is so high that developments are moulded by these constraints,” he said. “The building is ‘poured’ into the controls.”

*The State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65, and its companion Apartment Design Guide, imposes standards for natural light, outdoor access and size on new apartment developments, yet there is inadequate enforcement of these rules, Cr Thalis said.

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NDT Photo: The Meriton proposal for Talavera Road, Macquarie Park. With a 63 storey tower

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CAAN Photo: 7 Towers, ParkView, the Herring Road Precinct, Macquarie Park corner of Herring Road and Epping Road. Similar development to be repeated on both sides of Herring Road!

But Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said NSW leads the country when it comes to ensuring high-quality design of apartments.

If we are to have taller buildings, the trade-off must be a greater contribution to safe, useable attractive public open space,” he said.

Cr Thalis said apartment buildings with large floor plates had been built across Sydney in suburbs such as Kirrawee, Mascot, Pagewood, Homebush and Wentworth Point.

“Their sheer mass is a problem,” he said. “They’re not broken up into smaller buildings, they don’t have areas of landscape integrated with their site planning. They’re just monoliths.”

"Dumpy buildings" have been blamed on councils and planning rules by groups representing developers.
“Dumpy buildings” have been blamed on councils and planning rules by groups representing developers.CREDIT:JOHN VEAGE

Cr Thalis said monolithic buildings made fantastic warehouses but “they’re not great as places to live”.

*Chris Knapp, the head of Bond University’s Abedian School of Architecture, said slender buildings had greater visual appeal and caused less overshadowing.

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“For occupants, it means more availability of daylight and natural ventilation,” he said.

However, Professor Knapp said tall building can “breed” anonymity: “Once people live too far from the ground, they become detached from the pedestrian realm and the sense of community and connection one has with their neighbourhood.”

Cr Thalis and Mr Carter said a maximum of six apartments per floor of an apartment complex was ideal.

“This usually would mean a more friendly place to live, a more personal corridor space, more area given to apartments, and more surface area for the apartment which would, in the hands of a skilled architect, means greater amenity and better architecture,” Mr Carter said.

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*But Mr Johnson said limiting the number of apartments on each floor would drive up property prices: “We need to consider affordability in the number of apartments per floor.”

*CAAN: Hehehe … really, isn’t it about more apartments per floor and storey upon storey … deve-lopers make a motzer?

Cr Thalis said he was not opposed to increasing the city’s density, but a focus on short-term profits had led to the building defects crisis and the evacuation of apartment complexes at Sydney Olympic Park, Mascot and Erskineville.

Mr Carter said building should not be just about making profits.

“They need to be people’s homes and workplaces first and foremost,” he said. “That’s why good regulation is needed to make sure this is what actually happens.”

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*

More skilled and stringent planning assessment was needed to improve the design of apartment towers, Mr Carter said, with architects should be “tied” to a building until the occupation certificate is issued.

*He also said there should be greater public sector involvement in building affordable housing to improve standards and lower maintenance costs.

*In contrast, Mr Mann said planning was a “broken system” that did not respond to community needs.

“State and local controls could be used as a baseline with buildings that can show better community outcomes to be allowed to be assessed outside of the controls on their merit and response to the needs of the community,” he said.

Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor is a Senior Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/godzillas-in-the-suburbs-the-truth-behind-sydney-s-ugly-apartment-blocks-20190725-p52aw8.html

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