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Tuesday
Jan312012

Coopers Plains : an evolution of our approach to Density, Diversity, Amenity and Social Integration in housing.

DC8 Studio recently formed part of the PRA Land team to bid on a project located in Coopers Plains run by the Department of Communities. Coopers Plains is an existing suburb in Brisbane with a set of very interesting opportunities for the evolution of the local community. The salt and peppering of existing residential and social housing alongside the almost “agricultural” open space with broad tree lined streets sets a framework to challenge the nature of infill development.

Our bid approach was guided by our vision of creating Prosperity for People and Planet through the medium of (i) Architecture, (ii) Landscape, (iii) a Time based strategy and (iv) a driving focus on the layering of social amenity in the spaces we create.

Our scheme pays respect to the integration of the new development (over time) with the existing scale, fabric and residents of the existing site and surrounds. From a planning point of view there were some interesting combinations of potential building height, footprint and open space ratios that could have created varying outcomes. We chose to build on our Matryoska principle philosophy, that continues from our award winning submission to a similar challenge in a national competition for social housing in Canberra’s Northbourne Avenue. This approach sees the distribution and layering of the open space spread through the entire neighbourhood, touching all the homes. The gradation of this space also balances private and public needs, and critically injects relevant intimate shared zones between these 2 realms. Our desire in doing this is to develop an environment to meet the hierarchy of social and ecological needs ranging from safety and security through to friendship, stewardship and respect. The homes themselves ranged from Ground to Air types that vary in size and affordability, yet all are afforded the same amenity and connection with the layered communal space network. An additional community focussed framework breathes life into the homes through play, work, art and produce areas. This network is vital to support the homes and draw the community out from behind closed doors.

FORM Landscape did some great work with us on the spaces between buildings and brought a shared passion for achieving our ideals, and care for concurrent design of interior and exterior.

Graphically, we pay homage to the works of Mr Saul Bass in this bid due to (i) the era in which these works were generated with a sense optimism and humanism, and (ii) as a means of covering a vast range of topics in a uniform media which allows for an abstracted focus on the issue at large. This language gave the whole team great enjoyment in the telling of the story, from design and publication to presentation and branding. This is in keeping with DC8 Studio’s philosophy of holistic work practice and design relevant to place.

 

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