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   -   Commendation in The Australian Institute of Architects Award for Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing (QLD)

Key Street Townhouses
by Gall & Medek Architects Pty Ltd



Conceptual framework The seven Key Street townhouses have a unique identity generated by careful consideration of environmental issues during the design process. The intention was to question the "usual" cost driven outcome, and look closely at the functional and practical issues like comfort and liveability to provide the best product. The design approach is based on simplicity, honesty, clarity and appreciation of the ecological (biophysical/social) processes, materials, resources and spaces around us. The houses are not intended as consumer products but as the products of honest thought and craft. The forms, textures, patterns and colours of the houses have a basis in practical, ecological decisions rather than stylistic ones. Public & Cultural Benefits This small site could normally accommodate fewer townhouses, however, clever thinking and design has yielded 7 townhouses, each with individual and legible entry points from the street, aided by the direction finding stairwell lanterns and a small, central public pathway to create a strong streetscape. The townhouse mix of 1+study and 2 bedroom townhouses and its qualities encourages a combination of different occupants to promote social and community interaction. The townhouses promote the awareness of sustainability and provide an alternate product to the generic townhouse property market. Relationship of Built Form to Context The development takes advantage of a difficult corner site. Its composition carefully relates to the scale, massing and patterns of built forms in the street. This project attempts to be a benchmark for the type of development occurring in the area. Program Resolution The brief for the site development was part of

the design process. Therefore, functional performance and brief are closely integrated from a “first principles” level and upwards. Integration of Allied Disciplines We work using an inclusive design team method, including with the builder during documentation. This ensures that all specialist technical knowledge and their input is integrated though design. Cost/Value Outcome The construction budget is consistent with the minimum standard for “developer project” costs for the level in the market for this area. Good design provides a slight sales value premium, with the developer able to contribute to a legacy of quality and economical housing. Sustainability Importantly, the design responds to the issues of energy, materials and water and the interactions between them, largely generated the aesthetics of the place. The townhouses and the place they form are consequently intended to communicate, explicitly and implicitly, the underlying environmental issues on which the design is based. The site is designed as an integrated system based on ecological principles of landscape (soil, typography, hydrology), energy use, natural lighting, materials, water, privacy, views, health, social interactions, safety and security and equitable access. The townhouses are designed for very little mechanical cooling, if required, due to the passive thermal design. Response to Client and User needs The developer wanted to create townhouses that placed more emphasis on fundamental design principles and the experience of living in them, rather than aesthetics. The resulting buildings are distinctive with a level of architectural integrity that is higher than average for small scale, low cost projects.

Gall & Medek Architects Pty Ltd
Project Team
Structural consultant: John Quak & Associates
Hydraulic consultant: H Design
Builder: Earth Spirit Home Pty Ltd
Builder: Earth Spirit Home Pty Ltd
Photographer: Paul Butterworth
Photographer: Sacha O'Toole
Photographer: Paul Butterworth
Photographer: Paul Butterworth

Photographs by Paul Butterworth, Sacha O'Toole, Paul Butterworth & Paul Butterworth, text by Gall & Medek Architects Pty Ltd

Link directly to this award entry: is the website of The Royal Australian Institute of Architects