Thornton Sydney, Australia

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1 Thornton Sydney, Australia UrbanGrowth NSW Summary Thornton is a major urban renewal project located adjacent to both a regional centre and Penrith Railway Station. Thornton will ultimately include approximately 1,500 to 1,800 dwellings. The project will include adaptive reuse of historic Thornton Hall, retirement living, community housing as well as some commercial and retail space next to the station. A mix of house types including apartments, garden apartments, studio, terraces, secondary dwellings, manor homes and small lot homes. Key objectives were to provide housing diversity with a range of price points and create a community development with amenity, landscaping, open space, recreational and social facilities and employment opportunities. Website: urbangrowthnsw.com.au Project details Start date: early 2012 Completion date: 2020 Site type: brownfield Site size: 40 hectares Density: 36 dwellings p/ha Lot sizes: m 2 Streetscape Compact Housing Scoping Study 1

2 Challenges and achievements To deliver the desired range of housing at an appropriate price point UrbanGrowth NSW needed to work closely with the home building industry to produce homes in a cost effective manner by: creating a flexible set of planning controls designing a range of compact housing types constructing the housing, and introducing a system that might be replicated by the building industry within the project (and potentially future projects). The planning process allowed for flexibility and innovation. Design guidelines were produced that had basic controls like solar access and setbacks as well as a design kit that set parameters for architectural style, landscape, fencing, colours and materials. The project team used compact house typologies to produce five product types: Terrace homes Patio homes (similar to duplex or semi-detached dwellings) Courtyard homes (zero lot detached dwellings) Garden homes (more traditional detached houses), and Loft/Garden apartments (similar to fonzie flat or studio dwelling). A modern lived-in laneway concept was adopted at Thornton, in preference to a purely service based laneway that developed undesirable reputations in the past. The rear laneways were utilised at Thornton to provide service access for rear loaded dwellings, but the inclusion of secondary loft apartments above garages with dwelling entries off the laneway helps to provide activation and surveillance. Compact Housing Scoping Study 2

3 Masterplan Thornton community playground Compact Housing Scoping Study 3

4 Lessons learnt 1. Agree on the vision Vision comes before planning. UrbanGrowth NSW s vision was to create and demonstrate an attractive range of compact homes that suit a variety of modern lifestyles. 2. Demonstrate the product Innovation is iterative: design, research, redesign, cost control, build it, demonstrate it. UrbanGrowth NSW understood considerable research with focus groups representing the target markets. These groups were shown various housing types and their feedback was incorporated into the house designs. 3. Enlist the power of partnerships More is achieved working with partners who support the vision and have a commitment to innovate. Urban Growth NSW had the support of key stakeholders, such as Penrith Council, Department of Planning and Infrastructure and the building industry. All were committed to deliver the project s vision. 4. Understand the trade offs Early market feedback showed buyers wanted their own home on their own block and they preferred detached houses. Buyers will trade off yard space for amenity, however there was still a strong preference for Torrens title homes. Thornton is well located and offers quality public domain that supported the trade-off in housing choice. 5. Think suburban UrbanGrowth NSW established a set of planning controls that were flexible and encouraged innovation. Solar aspect and setbacks were tailored for the infill nature of the site, allowing a more urban (rather than suburban) outcome. Planning controls need to be re-thought to support 21st century living. They need to be more flexible than suburban controls because traditional solar and setback requirements fail at higher densities. 6. Terrace widths Four standard lot widths were selected; 4.5m, 5.1m, 6.6m, and 7.5m. Lots sizes that fall between these four widths don t deliver any more usable accommodation. A terrace build on a 6m lot width can only provide the same level of accommodation and internal layout as a 5.1m terrace because it s not wide enough to accommodate two secondary bedrooms side by side. 4.5m lot width 5.1m lot width 6.6m lot width 7.5m lot width Open plan living space 4.1m wide on ground floor Enough room for a corridor and separate room on ground floor Flexible L shaped kitchen/dining on ground floor Flexible L shaped kitchen/dining on ground floor Two bedrooms on first floor Two or three bedrooms in a staggered layout on first floor Two minor bedrooms side by side on first floor plus a master bedroom One minor bedroom plus master bedroom side by side on first floor, with potential for four bedrooms on first floor Single garage with rear gate Single garage with rear gate Optional fourth bedroom on ground floor Double garage with rear gate Double garage across entire block Compact Housing Scoping Study 4

5 Duplexes or semi-detached dwellings Duplexes or semis can blend easily into relatively low density residential suburbs. When designed well, duplexes can be of a similar scale and character as a typical detached family house but will be difficult to differentiate from detached homes. The Patio houses at Thornton are an example of this housing type and have been specifically designed for corner lots. The Patio is one duplex design at Thornton that provides four bedrooms, three bathrooms, single garage and alfresco dining area. These dwellings are two storey and have zero lot boundaries on two sides. Key details Lot size: x 15 20m Home size: 150 to 200m 2 Sale price: from $450,000 to $550,000 EER: BASIX compliant Bedrooms: 4 Bathrooms: 3 Car: single garage + off street car space The Patio Façade Compact Housing Scoping Study 5

6 The Patio Ground floor plan The Patio First floor plan Compact Housing Scoping Study 6

7 Zero lot detached dwellings Zero lot detached dwellings have one or more walls adjoining the boundary with the next lot. When designed carefully, zero lot housing can offer the amenity benefits of traditional detached dwellings while using land much more efficiently. The Courtyard houses at Thornton are an example of this housing type that provide two storey dwellings with rear lane access and a private courtyard/open space between the dwelling and garage. Courtyard design number 14 has been used as an example. Key details Lot size: 8 or 10m x 30m Home size: 170 to 250m 2 Sale price: $490,000 to $600,000 EER: BASIX compliant Bedrooms: 3 or 4 Bathrooms: 2 or 3 Car: double garage The Courtyard Façade Compact Housing Scoping Study 7

8 The Courtyard Ground floor plan The Courtyard First floor plan Compact Housing Scoping Study 8

9 Secondary dwellings and studios Secondary dwellings provide a small, self-contained living space that is either attached or separate from the principle dwelling. Garage-top studio apartments are highly sought after by homeowners. An important evolution of the secondary dwelling concept is the ability to strata title the dwelling, enabling it to be purchased separately from the principal dwelling. Or purchasers can buy both the primary residence and secondary dwelling, retaining the apartment for teenage children or as an investment rental property. The Loft and Garden apartments at Thornton are an example of this housing type. In some instances a triplex was produced, with one, two bedroom apartment on the ground floor of the primary residence, a second two bedroom apartment upstairs and then a third studio apartment constructed above the three car garage. This clever design maximises space, provides either a balcony or patio for each apartment plus its own single garage. Dwelling designs for Loft/Garden apartments 11A, 11B and 11C are included as examples. Key details Lot size: 9 or 10m x 6 or 7m Home size: 40 to 90m 2 Sale price: $250,000 to $400,000 EER: BASIX compliant Bedrooms: Studio or 2 Bathrooms: 1 or 1.5 Car: single garage Loft/Garden apartment Façade Compact Housing Scoping Study 9

10 Loft/Garden apartment Ground floor plan Loft/Garden apartment First floor plan Compact Housing Scoping Study 10

11 Terraces and townhouses Terraces and townhouses deliver a more urban solution to medium density housing. They often include rear garages that are accessed by a rear lane. While most contemporary terraces have a 7.5m to 8.5m frontage, a narrower terrace lot may also be suitable in more urban locations. Thornton terraces were built with a three metre setback and one and a half metre articulation zone. Buildings are typically 12m deep and two storey s high. The spacious layout delivers a very large master suite with walk-in robe, expansive ensuite and balcony, plus two more bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Downstairs is a separate living room, combined meals and lounge area plus a kitchen. An alfresco dining area, small courtyard and single or double garage (depending on the width of the lot) complete the design. Designs 1A and 3 have been included as examples of terraces built on 6.6m and 4.5m wide lots. Key details Lot size: 4.5m, 5.1m, 6.6m or 7.5m x 30m Home size: m 2 Sale price: $470,000 to $600,000 EER: BASIX compliant Bedrooms: 2, 3 or 4 Bathrooms: 2.5 Car: single or double garage Terraces Compact Housing Scoping Study 11

12 Terrace 6.6m wide lot Ground floor plan Terrace First floor plan Compact Housing Scoping Study 12

13 Terrace 4.5m wide lot Ground floor plan Terrace First floor plan Compact Housing Scoping Study 13

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