Behind the Build // On Hills Central – Interview COX Architecture


Client: Ecospective Property

Architect: COX Architecture

Completion Date: December 2023

Contract Type: Design and Construct

Project Managers: Rick Shah / Bachir El Kassaa

The development was chosen to represent the new architectural thinking that should be rolled out to the precinct to the north of the current Rouse Hill town centre. The existing town centre was built in 2008. The crafted brickwork aesthetic that Binah delivered is emblematic of the architecture that stakeholders GPT, The Hills Shire Council and Ecospective wanted for the future of Rouse Hill.

There were several key demographics. The first being downsizers who wanted to continue living the Hills district but have the convenience of being close to a town centre and not having to maintain a house. Another market were working young families, that wanted apartments that were larger than the small units provided in the inner city.

We were very concerned about noise and privacy, so we designed the first 4 storeys to have solid balustrades to ensure residents were shielded from noise and any overlooking from the street. The floor plate design includes naturally ventilated breezeways to all corridors which allows for all residents to have cross ventilated units to manage comfort. We also located a sunlit communal open space on the roof of the northern building where residents can enjoy BBQ facilities that receives sunlight all year round.

The quality of the interiors were a step up from most of the recent developments in the area. These include engineered timber floor to all units, stone benchtops and timber highlights to both kitchen and bathroom joinery. Binah delivered on the high quality design that was intended.

Most of the units are naturally cross ventilated, which means that there is less reliance on air-conditioning in the summer months. The development also has been designed with living room windows that have been designed to capture winter sun, so residents do not need to rely on electric heating in winter.

The building turns its back on the noisier aspects of the town centre so the residents are able to feel that they are in a secure and tranquil setting when they are at home. If they do choose to go to the town centre, they are able to walk across and get there in less than 5 minutes.

The site was challenging as the brief called for a very long building across Caddies Boulevard. We managed to deal with this issue by designing a highly crafted and articulated building that had concrete and brick accents. Binah delivered on the design intent of the architecture.

I really enjoyed working with Binah and their nominated bricklayer on crafting the highly unusual brick details. The hands on collaboration between ourselves, Binah and the bricklayer from an early phase allowed the team to deliver the stunning brick façade. The 11-storey brick screen detail in the corner of the site has never been done before.

It has been a pleasure working with Binah. I remember many meetings where the Binah design managers and site supervisors would try their best to try and deliver on the vision for the development. It is a testament to their desire to innovate where others would have walked away that resulted in a project that is both unique and delivered to a high level of craftmanship.

Felipe Miranda – Associate Director – COX Architecture