Achieving a new benchmark in innovative townhome design and smart capabilities, property developer Mulpha Norwest (“Mulpha”) has created Essentia, a unique collection of “smart” townhomes within the future smart city of Norwest in Sydney’s West.
Extensively planned with a luxury resort experience, they are true multigenerational homes, designed to grow along with people’s lives. The development is not only architecturally designed with beautiful finishes, but also has cutting-edge innovations as standard with a world class integrated system delivering energy efficient living, state-of-the-art security system, home automation and recycled rainwater.
In their endeavor to create the community of tomorrow, Mulpha partnered with Australia’s leading producer of external and internal building materials, James Hardie, and award-winning architectural firm, a+ design group. This $55 million project to develop 74 luxury townhomes, was launched in January 2019, and remains on track for completion in early in 2022.
A+ design group took inspiration from the simple silhouettes and well-defined lines of modern design. They also sought to capture elements of the nature in a soothing manner, through the diverse use of textures, forms and material palette, as well as the playful articulation of shadow and light. Viewed from the outside, each four-bedroom townhome exudes its own character. The build’s charisma is achieved by combining cladding and rendered façades for a distinctive but still serene look.
James Hardie cladding was essential in creating the townhomes’ contemporary exteriors that are equally organic and practical. The façades are articulated with a sense of depth and relief, with a material palette of natural colour tones which complements the natural surrounds, and sits comfortably within its environment.
Mulpha and a+ design group choose James Hardie cladding specifically based on product performance, look, customer support, outstanding warranties and high brand standards.
“We wanted to create stunning homes which were low maintenance and of high quality. The James Hardie name resonates with this strongly and delivered on all of our performance criteria,” says Jan Van Der Bergh, Senior Development Manager, Mulpha Norwest.
To achieve a bespoke, modern look, several James Hardie cladding profiles were combined, including Axon Grained, Axon Smooth, EasyLap and Matrix. The subtle contrasts in each of these exterior systems served to accentuate the townhomes’ architectural elements and create a cohesive, contemporary aesthetic.
Axon Grained and Smooth, EasyLap and Matrix cladding are lightweight fibre cement, making them easy to gun-nail onto timber, or screw to light gauge steel frames. For convenience, they arrive pre-primed and ready to paint.
“Axon, EasyLap and Matrix are ideal options for achieving the Modern look, because of their impactful lines and streamlined form. Their finish also adds variety and textural interest to the exterior. Contemporary architecture’s defining features of sharp, clean edges and angles was achieved through the minimalist expressed-joint look of Matrix, the shiplap joint and broad paneling of EasyLap, and the vertically grooved panels of Axon,” says Natalie Jarrah, NSW Territory Manager, James Hardie.
Mulpha and a+ design group found one of the biggest benefits of Axon’s vertically grooved panels is their purposeful design, which is intended to capture the beauty and fine detail of painted vertical joint timber. While originally considering aluminum siding, the developers and architects choose Axon based on its ability to provide the in-demand look of timber finish with the added benefits of superior durability and less time-consuming board construction, which aluminum could not equal. The cost advantages of using James Hardie cladding, particularly in lieu of aluminium, also exists in both the upfront cost and future requirements of ongoing maintenance.
Matrix has a remarkably range as aesthetic cladding, as it can be used to create a variety of geometric shapes in square, vertical, horizontal and brick pattern layouts, while EasyLap panel is an exceptionally easy to install, cost-effective broadwall cladding solution.
The project’s biggest construction challenge was adjoining the detailed junctions of multiple materials while maintaining a streamlined appearance. This is where, beyond product qualities, Mulpha found the quality of James Hardie’s customer service to be exceptionally supportive and insightful. James Hardie experts attended many of the developer’s design meetings, and reviewed all proposed detailing in order to advise on correct building practices and efficient construction. Jan explains that their project’s rep was “wonderful to deal with, always going over and above to ensure we were satisfied the product, and achieve a superior design outcome.”
“There’s so much to love about these next generation townhomes. At the heart of their design is encouraging community, and empowering homeowners through the benefits of energy efficiency and smart technology,” says Tony Leung, Founder of a+ design group. “James Hardie’s product abilities were essential to creating the next generation of homes.”