Client: LFD Developments
Architect: Ben Pomeroy, Rothelowman
Contract Type: Design and Construct
Project Manager: Joey Gharib
How does the design of Auburn Square respond to its surrounding context?
The design of Auburn Square aimed to fit in with the surrounding physical and social fabric, which includes mid-20th-century residential buildings. The high-density, mixed-use development introduced a masonry colonnade with colours and textures reflecting the nearby buildings and deep planting box elements to enhance urban greening. The colonnade also helped integrate a mixed-use typology by intensifying retail activation and freeing up public street space for future street tree inclusion.
Who is the target market for Auburn Square?
At Rothelowman, we design architecture and interiors with character and purpose that recognise the built environment is created for people. For Auburn Square, the intent was to provide buildings, spaces and detailing that foster strong engagement with their future inhabitants and create value through their quality. As a mixed-use development, Auburn Square needed to balance the needs of future residents and those who will utilise the public services and retail in the development. For residence, Auburn Square has been designed from the outset as a highly affordable residential apartment development that doesn’t compromise on design or quality. Humble innovations are used to create impact for the residents through, what we call, a ‘generous eye for life’.
How does the design of Auburn Square foster a sense of community?
Auburn Square seeks to revitalise the northern side of Auburn town centre with a new retail precinct. Uniquely for a development of this type, the scheme sits on both sides of a public road, creating a unique character and defined streetscape for this scheme, the first stage of a larger development.
As a truly mixed-use development, the provision of high-quality retail services at ground level extends and anchors the previously inactive northern end of the Auburn CBD. Residential lobby spaces, rather than being hidden, are located and placed to maximise activation at street level and add to the character of the new ground-level colonnade spaces.
How do you ensure a balance and harmony between the retail and residential spaces?
Our goal from the outset was to seamlessly integrate the different uses of Auburn Square to create an enhanced user experience. In many mixed-use developments, one or more of the different uses are compromised during the design process. We aimed to enhance the experience for residents by strategically locating retail access points and amenities, as well as by designing residential lobbies adjacent to, but separate from, the retail areas. Meanwhile, the depth and shape of the colonnade spaces protect the residential apartments above from any noise or other disturbances that a vibrant retail environment might create.
Can you tell us about the architectural design strategy?
The primary focus of the design was on the experience for the residents. The architecture, therefore, focused on an approach of layering materials across the vertical strata. Finer scale materials and details were deployed along the ground plane with the large brick colonnade providing a recognisable scale and colour to connect to the existing context and deploying these materials closer to where most people will engage with the architecture.
Above the brick podium, the building is composed into a series of towers clustered together as white singular elements where the individual residential apartments create the architectural form.
Detail is created in these crisp white forms, with a variety of finer texture finishes to the main wall systems, with both texture and vertical striations added to the wall panels to allow light to create visual contrast.
A landscaped rooftop space creates extra space for residents to connect and embrace the long views from the site to both the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs.
Was sustainability considered in the design?
Throughout the project, humble materials were used intelligently to create an impact not only for residents and visitors but also for sustainability considerations.
In a building of this type and configuration, the typical requirement for cooling is provided through reverse-cycle air conditioning. The high quantity of naturally cross-ventilated apartments is enhanced with the provision in apartments of ceiling fans. This will assist residents in choosing to use natural or low-power alternatives for more of the year than relying upon air-conditioning year-round.
Passive solar design was achieved through the strategic control of the amount of glazing on the facade, helping to reduce heat loading. Additionally, the use of deep terraces protects full width glazing in living spaces, further optimising the energy efficiency of the design.
Simple and robust materials were used in the apartment interiors, with off-the-shelf floor tiles used throughout both living spaces and bathrooms to reduce overall material wastage with a common type across the development.
Rooftop gardens, central courtyards, and the integration of landscape and biophilia are purposefully designed to generate gardens for residents and a generosity of greenery that gives back to the area and enriches the precinct’s urban biodiversity. These spaces celebrate an outdoor lifestyle and provide private and communal areas for residents and visitors alike.
Did the site present any unique opportunities?
The unique opportunity presented on this project to create an entirely new streetscape condition has been embraced by Binah. This building, being stage 1, needed to set the standard for responding to the unique conditions of Northumberland Road.
This area of Auburn is subject to significant flooding constraints, and ground-floor retail levels must be placed well above the RL of the existing footpath. Therefore a design solution was needed to control flooding issues and provide visual and physical connectivity of the ground-floor retail to the street.
Therefore, the colonnade as a classical architectural device was introduced to create a safe and clear pedestrian movement zone that elevates the users above the street but maintains their visual connection to the public domain. It has the additional benefit of creating an all-weather outdoor retail environment for each retail tenancy, without including projecting canopies to the public street. This will allow the future Northumberland Road urban design upgrades to maximise street tree canopy cover and urban shading.
How has the journey of working with the Binah team been for you?
Binah approaches its work with the overarching mission to create opportunities, build communities, and empower lives. As long-term client and collaborator, we are always thrilled to partner with the team who have a shared vision of positively contributing to the evolution of the built environment in NSW. – Ben Pomeroy, Rothelowman.