We recently discussed the design philosophy and approach behind Vida with acclaimed Southeast Queensland Architects, John Mainwaring and Garth Hollindale, of Hollindale Mainwaring Architecture. Watch the video and read the Q&A below to find out about the unique thinking behind these townhomes.
Us: How does your design philosophy as a company influence your approach to a project like Vida?
HMA: We have had experience with medium density residential projects for 40 years. Our architectural design philosophy has always been one that embraces sustainability, environmental issues, urban design values and lifestyle matters. This manifests into taking advantage of landscape, place and climate in terms of providing inspiring indoor/outdoor living spaces, as well as making an efficient and functional living environment.
Us: How does this approach consider the end users and therefore contribute to the improved liveability of the community?
HMA: At the macro level, one of the key issues we address is demographic diversity. The wide variety of residences caters for varying social groups and family typologies. This achieves an inherent community vibrancy. The semi- circular pattern of the townhouse layout forms a central park, pool and barbeque area, forming a community recreational focal point central to the complex.
Us: What were your initial inspirations for the master plan and how does it respond to place? In particular, the local climate, local identity, external interfaces and the surrounding uses and site constraints?
HMA: The 2.4 hectare semi hemispherical site lies to the north of, and is adjacent to the North Lakes Town Centre. The land gently rolls towards the North East with easy access to public transport and the motorway. In this case, like the evolution of terrace housing adjoining Australian villages and townships hubs, Vida has walking and cycle access via tree lined streets to a wide variety of nearby public facilities, retail, schools, services, and amenities. The overall configuration, internal streets and pedestrian paths are generated from the site curve and respond in a legible manner to neighbouring accessibility, circulation, topographical and road features.
Another carefully considered aspect of the master plan was the close proximity of the site to the Town Centre; addressing concerns which relate to security, the community is secured by a vehicular gate at the entry. To maximise pedestrian permeability in light of this however, over half of the townhomes have been located to achieve direct access to the existing pedestrian network through private/semi private access. Three secured communal pedestrian access points have also been provided.
Finally, by elevating the private courtyards, and in some cases raising the living areas to the upper floors, residents are able to enjoy the sense of separation from the public realm whilst still being visually connected to these activated areas and vistas.
Us: What are the key features of the architecture and how does it make Vida unique?
HMA: We have developed a distinguished and authentic response to sub-tropical design for both a semi-rural and urban context. The architecture embraces the attributes of the location by designing for different orientation, aspect and vista opportunities as well as providing discreet safety surveillance. Generous roof overhangs give weather protection to decks and alfresco spaces.
Homes have been designed to enhance cross ventilation whilst also capitalise on the oblique view lines. Corner windows achieve long view lines down the vegetated urban lanes, rather than a short exposed view across. High level windows, or vertical slit windows are also used regularly to achieve cross ventilation, glimpses of sky and vistas, whilst also maintaining privacy.
Passive sun control, privacy screens, as well as various other screens, have been introduced to provide veiled outlooks from private spaces toward either the western aspect or the public realm.
Us: What are the key features of the range of floor plans you have developed and how will these influence liveability and functionality for home owners?
HMA: The floor plans and sizes of the townhomes have been developed for various financial entry points and demographics.
Drying courts not only serve to remove the functional requirements of urban living from the public edges of the townhomes, but also serve as a means to draw natural light and cross ventilation into the centre of these homes. Articulated facades also provide opportunities for bedrooms to generally benefit from multiple windows, further enhancing the opportunities for cross ventilation.
Generous voids, open tread stairs, areas of glazed balustrades, have all been introduced to further enhance the quality of light and air through the centre of the townhomes.
In some of the situations the living spaces are on the second level to maximise view opportunities and the benefits of favourable aspect and orientation. Bedrooms and living spaces are generous in size with windows generating cross ventilation, natural light and view vistas.
Us: Thanks very much for your time today and for such a detailed insight into the unique design behind the Vida townhomes.