Utilising the 'common ground' model which originated in New York, the Sydney-based model adopts the 'street to home' approach of providing stable, high quality permanent housing for the chronically homeless.
The model satisfies the fundamental requirements of shelter and warmth as basic life needs, which is a vital first step towards a satisfying and balanced life for people affected by homelessness. It provides on-site support designed to help tenants maintain their housing, address health issues, and pursue education and employment.
The building is not recognisable as social housing or as an institutional building, but rather as a contemporary and comfortable living environment.
The 104 units establish a social mix, integrating previously homeless people along with others on low incomes. A 24-hour concierge provides security and casual surveillance for residents and visitors to the building, and support services are an integral part of the model ensuring residents are receiving appropriate support to be able to maintain their tenancies.
The public domain component resolves the complete Housing NSW site, with an upgrade to landscaping and the existing open space surrounding the Johanna O'Dea building. New tree planting to Pyrmont Bridge Road and Lambert Street create a new tree lined street perspective.
The design is the result of a detailed urban design analysis, extensive consultation with stakeholders and workshops with a range of community service providers. The building was designed in a manner sensitive to neighbouring residential areas and required the support of the City of Sydney to amend the LEP and DCP. The new building forms an important transition in scale, height and materiality between the existing heritage listed Alexandra Dwellings and the 11-storey Johanna O'Dea tower. It also presents a strong frontage to the Pyrmont Bridge Road façade with upper level set backs that are appropriate to its context.
Common Ground Sydney is one of the largest residential developments in Australia that has 100 per cent of its units with barrier free access to aid accessibility.
The development has carefully considered passive ESD principles with a central north south atrium to capture natural daylight and fresh air while allowing passive natural ventilation in all apartments. This organising axis provides a communal focus with break out spaces on each floor, interconnected by stairs to encourage social interaction between residents.
HASSELL worked with developer and builder Grocon on a pro-bono basis to prepare preliminary design feasibility studies on a number of sites within inner Sydney, before providing full design services at cost to Housing NSW. Many consultants, suppliers and sub-contractors also contributed to the project on a cost only basis, which fostered a collaborative approach throughout its duration. Grocon built the project at cost and returned a saving of $1.4 million to Housing NSW.
Urban Development Institute of Australia Awards, Affordable Development Category, Winner 2012
World Architecture Fesitval Awards, House Category, Highly Commended, 2012
RAIA NSW Architecture Awards, Premier's Prize Finalist, 2012
5 Star Green Star - Multi Unit Residential, Design v1 certified
SURFACE GALLERY, WHITE CERAMIC
BATH AND SHOWER
CSR CEILECTOR CEILING SOLUTIONS
SWISSPEARL FAÇADE SYSTEM
TIMBER, PAINT FINISH
ADIS AUTOMATIC DOORS, FRAMELESS GLAZED AUTO SLIDING DOOR
HANSON, PRECAST CONCRETE PANEL
ARMSTRONG FLOORING PTY LTD
MAYNELINE, LAMINATE FINISH
FISHER & PAYKEL APPLIANCES
EUROLUCE LIGHTING AUSTRALIA
PACIFIC STEEL CONSTRUCTIONS
WALLS - EXTERNAL
AUSTRAL PLYWOODS, PLYWOOD CLEAR
WALLS - INTERNAL