Monday, 25 August 2014

Canterbury Tales

The whole strip of Canterbury Road just south of the Cooks River is undergoing major renewal. The density is changing from single residential to full on 5 storey, high density mixed development, envisaging a new centre for living and retail for the future. Here's a recent design we've submitted for 41 residential units and two bulky goods shops above a basement car park.

Some say it is a shame to lose the cute single storey residences and with my heritage hat on it is hard to let go at least some of the Californian Bungalows there that still had a good life in front of them. It is clear that it is no longer the peaceful single cottage/family zone it once was. Canterbury Road in this area is narrow and super busy. It is reflected in the diminishing use and in particular the decreasing environmental amenity of the cottages. Just no-one wants to live there. The renewal allows for widening of the main road and creation of a more dense strip of development. It will invigorate the area. With good local transport it is perfect for multi unit shop top housing and unit living for modern urban commuters.

Our design turns the living areas from the busy road with 100% of the living areas of the units facing away. Bedrooms facing Canterbury Road have a buffer zone of walkways and screens and will be double glazed. Outdoor landscaped common area is provided on a  rear 4 storey high roof top with district views to the north West. We've extensively used two storey cross over units which allow for 100% cross flow ventilation and 100% of the units receive solar access to living areas.

The site has a rear lane which affords easy access for parking but also allows a separation to the extensive low scale residential zone behind. The whole building, when combined with future adjoining large scale buildings will provide an effective buffer to the street noise to those same residential zones. A real positive amenity outcome. To reduce the impact of the 4 storey bulk the rear of the building is sloped. This reduces the impact of bulk and scale on the low scale zone as well.

We have just submitted to Canterbury Council but signs are positive for a quick approval. Thanks goes to some great consultants, Genevieve Slattery, town planner, hydraulic man David Romanous, energy man David Gradwell and Megan and Mark from Zenith landscape architects.

I haven't done a "raked" facade building since doing units in Tweed Heads in the early 80's..!! (I must be pretty old) Back to the future I guess...               J

Canterbury Road facade

Clunes Lane facde

Ground floor

Level 2

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

CoFA heritage challenge

A recently completed project was the refurbishment of some heritage buildings at the College of Fine Arts campus in Paddington.

Block A, completed in 1893, had a horrible 80's painted colour scheme and it was in bad repair in places. We had the paint stripped to reveal the original bricks and restored the sandstone sills (replaced in some areas) and the sadly neglected gable ends. The whole project well executed by A J Bristow & Sons, who brought a wealth of practical heritage experience to bear.

The supporting colour scheme included heritage related colours. In all a lovely outcome, restoring the building back to some of it's former glory. Hopefully it gives it another 100 years of service.


original bad paint scheme
(google streetview pic...  not mine)

newly stripped and refurbished
90's false shutters removed

original signage restored

restored gable end

even the dodgy late 60's timber addition
was given a clean up

later additions were painted rather than stripped

new gable detailing
breathable perforated aluminium panels
refurbished original newel and beams
new vertical timbers

the previous lining was removed from
the eaves and brackets to reveal the original
timber battens and the curved detail

one of the existing sandstone sills
stripped and refurbished with a new
fall for drainage

Thursday, 1 May 2014

miscellaneous cartoons for Al

some recent cartoonies for another of Al's upcoming books

hooked on life

Here's a pic for my mate Nello's big number day.....

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

keepa kenda

Celebrating 6 decades of youthful exuberance this month, "young" Eddie is starring in the World Masters Games in Turin at the moment. More of the swan dive than swan song and remarkably holding off the ravages of time with plenty of exercise followed by his tonic of choice, bourbon and diet cola. He's always loved his sports, and he's been good at all of them. All the best EK.


Friday, 14 June 2013

queen street gallery

On the eastern fringe of Glebe is an open air sculpture gallery of a different kind.

Hilik Mirankar has used most of the Queen Street frontage as a gallery for his various carved timber installations. Being Glebe they are all suitably chained down to prevent theft. You can check out his web site at

It's a real joy on a clear day to walk the narrow street and view the imaginative sculptures that are located on the front porches of all his neighbours. They are at once primitive but modern, primal and tactile.

You can view them on the way to a refreshment and cheap meal at The Friend in Hand hotel at the western end or the Australian Youth Hotel (not so cheap), not far from the eastern end.

It's a good street to add into a larger walk through the back streets of Glebe.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I recently sat on a design jury for end of semester year 3 UNSW architecture students for my friend and design wunderkind/tutor Mark Szczerbicki (Polish right!!!)

Every time I do this it brings back many nerve racking memories of presenting my own designs back in the dim, foggy past at SU. And it's something I get to experience all over again when I front up to regular SEPP65 design review panels for my medium density projects.... so it really is good training for these future architects. We looove being citicised.

Generally this group were pretty good and they scrubbed up alright seeing as how they probably only had a few hours of sleep between them for the previous four or five days.

Anyhoo... here's a snapshot of what our education system is producing now...

Their brief was to create a medium density (small) project with off street parking and some commercial at street level on an interesting site in North Bondi.

Just like in real life....   if you have 14 architects working on the same design you will end up with 14 completely different schemes... ahh.. the wonders of the designing mind in action.

Not bad at all from these guys. Most of them produced reasonable and thoughtful designs, belying their brief design experience, a couple were close to inspired. It also gave me a chance to try out my panorama setting on my phone camera.


not bad Jonathon...  good modern shapes and the car park worked.

Pia Ming did some good modelling... a bit low scale and the dark fill didn't help

wow... lots of drawings Jessica... layout is pretty good
shadow diagrams were back the front but that can happen at 3am in the morning.

Alyse was well on top of an adventurous plan with some good concepts
just  a bit undercooked on the drawing side
I like the "hands on" presentation shown here... many hands... or the right one many times

Filomena went all out for a structured/disciplined block design around a public courtyard
very european.....    but where are the decks for the people living in the units??

Bojan presented a well laid out design with good scale and forms

ok Tamara... you win... great presentation.....looking real good
presented a fantastic 3d fly through movie with a kick ass sound track (not shown here)

Gilbert presented with a nicely scaled bulk and well laid out plan
a nice, safe design

a HD for Hugo as the snappiest dresser to present
the plan was a little less exciting but generally pretty good

Zhiyuan had a neat design with an interesting layout
elevations were underdone...  another week would help

Christine was well organised and had excellent models

Frank had an honest design that generally worked well

Ara had a complete change in direction with her design half way through the term
it resulted a geometric design that was very interesting and suited the site.
potentially brilliant

Ridley, Ridley, Ridely..... saving the best till last with a well executed and presented design
subtle, hand coloured drawings, minimal reliance on 3D screen grabs, sensitive design...
better than a lot of year 5 presentations I've seen over the years