The VIEW Rockdale project originally began as an entrant in a design excellence competition for a mixed-use tower within the Rockdale Town Centre. It sought to encapsulate and extend the vibrant character of the existing historic town centre and present, in an iconic form, the ambitions of its future.
The design started by questioning the idea of “design excellence” and a challenge to implement the ambitions for said excellence. All the while adhering to a set strategy and budget. These elements were brought together uncompromisingly by developer and builder Piety THP Constructions, and Fuse Architects, and is the first building within the Bayside Council to be delivered with design excellence.
In preparation for the project a detailed mapping of the Rockdale CBD and the Princes Highway retail strip was undertaken. Ultimately this aided in setting up a contextual framework that shaped the development to fit in its unique setting. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant retail-shopping strip, Fuse Architecture shaped the form using lines from the local bay foreshore.
“We sought to explore the latent potential for innovation in multiple dwelling housing to find a way to deliver maximum amenity to future occupants. We wanted to contribute positively to the public domain” – Rachid Andary, Fuse Architecture.
The building is setback as a way of doubling the footpath and prioritised and extended the existing predominate podium height along the highway. It took minimal side setbacks to the secondary boundaries and doubled them to allow for improved amenity and apartment aspect, maximising the number of apartments facing north, away from the busy road and towards the distant city views. An elevated communal courtyard protected from the surroundings was inserted into the setback to act both as a green backdrop and quiet space in which to retreat.
The building form was articulated predominantly through the insertion of the central and open breezeway and its accompanying veil. The shape of the veil referenced the Botany Bay foreshore and created two slender towers sitting on top of the retail podium. The breezeway increased the building frontage. By injecting some vibrancy into the common spaces the central breezeway essentially became the heart of the building. The north tower was pulled over the newly created public domain as a sublime cantilever and the ground floor retail at the corner was doubled in height as a befitting gesture to signify the entrance to the emerging Rockdale CBD.
As the product of a design excellence competition the design needed to meet high aesthetic standards but given its ultimate requirement of providing marketing housing and its location in the outer ring suburbs, this needed to be done in a cost effective manner. Developer and builder, Piety THP, chose James Hardie Easylap external cladding for the most cost effective and streamlined solution for their projects needs.
“With the size of the pattern being 3m x 1.2m wide Easylap assisted in the set out of the façade which was ultimately time saving and kept us on budget. Easylap provided a 30% saving and this allowed us to utilise those savings in other facets of the building, improving the broader quality and amenity of the project without complicating the build or increasing costs” – Sammy Soliman, Piety THP.
“Due to the lightweight nature of the product it was fairly easy to install and, with clever detailing, seeing the exceptional design realised in a simple cladding solution was a true highlight as well as a good cost effective solution. Our calculated decision in using Easylap meant that the building expression would be uncompromised and allocated construction costs could be spent more wisely and also offered cost savings – which is always a key consideration.”
“As a light cladding option there are alternative boards on the market but not at the same price point.”
Ultimately, VIEW Rockdale was designed as a catalyst to transform context through lateral interpretation of planning controls, to look beyond numerical compliance and tease out better ways to satisfy key urban design objectives as well as extend those aspects of the local Rockdale town centre that are remarkable in a challenging urban environment.
VIEW Rockdale is set to be a favourable benchmark for future developers. An architectural masterpiece designed to be the cornerstone for the next generation of apartments to unfold in Sydney.