The Studio Apartments seek to imbue the scant Boarding House regulations with architectural and urban qualities, superior low-tech environmental performance and heightened liveability.
Situated on a challenging 458m2 triangular site directly opposite Dulwich Hill Station and Light Rail Terminus, Studio Apartments makes the most of its small site area while creating a significant urban frontage to the street. The northern façade is a 5-storey street wall, augmented with a floating additional two-storey volume at the western end. The massing resolves a quirk in the planning rules which did not envisage this particular site amalgamation. The smaller western triangular lot benefitted from a greater FSR and height than the larger irregular eastern lot.
At street level, a generous shopfront opens to the public footpath, shaded by a new awning. Arranged along the western boundary, the residential entry sequence comprises a porch and generous passage that opens to stepped landscaped terraces with an open vista to the sky beyond.
In order to negotiate the planning controls, there are four repeated storeys with eight studios per floor, with three non-standard studios arranged over the upper two floors. On all residential levels, access to the studios is via open galleries at the rear of the site. These galleries overlook the common terraced landscaped gardens and a freestanding stair tower.
The typical floor plan is arranged to purposely fan along the building’s length to benefit from the northern street frontage. Every studio receives ample daylight to its balcony and living areas. Every dwelling opens to this outlook from its front door, with the kitchens and balconies positioned to overlook the street. All bathrooms and laundries are compactly arranged off the entries, providing the majority of bathrooms with openable windows. The narrow cross-section, ceiling fans and fanlights above the entry doors ensures excellent cross-ventilation. Balconies and louvre screens to the northern façade control summer sun.
As the building steps at the sixth level, a common room opens to a generous communal roof terrace, providing all residents with a series of social spaces that enjoy panoramic district views.
Within the tectonic order of the building, every element and material has its logical place. The street façade has a carefully articulated massing, with concrete blades and slab edges defining each studio up to the terrace level. The balcony/ kitchen spandrels are honed concrete blocks. A louvred screen around the upper level unifies this taller setback element.
The robust materiality of the façade is carried through the interiors, with exposed concrete ceilings and large format floor slabs lending a reference scale to each studio. The solid spandrels offer residents privacy, and the plan arrangement allows surprisingly extensive and varied glazing relative to the plan area of each compact studio.
In every aspect of its design and construction, the building challenges the strictures of the dismal enabling SEPP & the poverty of the prevalent boarding house type, prioritising a high degree of amenity and character for each studio, encouraging social interaction while providing a considered urban form that enhances the street.