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Delicate density gracing established suburbs with style

As Perth’s population sprawls 120km along the coastline, the creation of greater housing choice has become a priority for the State Government.

Western Australia’s housing currently comprises 74 per cent standalone homes, 14 per cent townhouses and just seven per cent apartments, but the latter does not have to encompass solely high-rise developments, according to the WA Apartment Advocacy (WAAA).

WAAA Director Samantha Reece said the advocacy body supported the concept of delicate density, which was apartment living injected into key pockets of established streets and suburbs.

The Charleston in West Perth.
Camera IconThe Charleston in West Perth. Credit: Supplied.

“These are seamless designs that blend into the streetfront, yet maximise the space to accommodate 10-20 families where normally one would reside,” she said.

Ms Reece said last night’s WAAA WINconnect Apartment Awards for Excellence, with a total 47 entries across 16 categories, showcased many inspirational developments.

These included Social on Henry, which was designed by Matthews & Scavalli Architects and developed by Australian Development Capital to replace the defunct RSL Club on Henry Street, Fremantle.

The 22-apartment building on a 900sqm site not only created an oasis in the port city’s centre, but provided cosy homes with a high standard of finish.

The Social on Henry in Fremantle.
Camera IconThe Social on Henry in Fremantle. Credit: JOEL BARBITTA.

“It is nestled in its heritage setting and, from the street, it continues to reflect its original purpose,” Ms Reece said.

“The fact that 22 apartments are snuggled behind the facade was a complete surprise and delight.”

Managed by Bluerock Projects, the Charleston in West Perth was formerly an art deco home that had fallen into disrepair.

“Through clever renovations, this traditional two-storey development now features 10 luxurious one-bedroom apartments embodying the original design in an aesthetically pleasing way,” Ms Reece said.

The Department of Communities’ 15 Cummins Street project in Willagee took a 3000sqm site with three homes and created 20 apartments complemented by mature tree planting, creating a bush oasis with striking greenery through the heart of the project.

“The double-storey development has 10 apartments at both the front and rear of the block, with an industrial internal finish and highly affordable prices,” Ms Reece said.

95 Evans Street, Shenton Park.
Camera Icon95 Evans Street, Shenton Park. Credit: Dion Robeson.

Also in the awards spotlight, MJA Studio and Fabric Property Group’s development at 95 Evans Street, Shenton Park is now home to 10 families on a 647sqm block.

“It is a delight both externally and internally,” Ms Reece said. “The simplicity in its design, plus the fetching external mural provides a statement that has attracted admiration from the wider community, and rightly so.”

Ms Reece said the following entries: Kilmarnock designed by Kerry Hill Architects in Cottesloe and Bindaring Parade designed by Colliere Architecture in Claremont demonstrated best practice and also showed apartments could be sensitively added to existing neighbourhoods.

“People’s perception is that apartments are tall buildings and, while there is a place for this type of development, WAAA is focused on showcasing the more boutique projects that can add to a local community’s vibrancy and represent what we call delicate density,” she said.

“Housing choice within the apartment sector is vital, as not everyone wishes to live in a large development, but rather in a home that feels cosy and intimate. These projects featured in the WAAA WINconnect Apartment Awards for Excellence demonstrate best design practice that we wish to advocate for as WA moves forward.”

WINconnect is meeting the demand for innovative sustainability in

high-density living areas

Demand for apartment living continues to grow in WA, but residents are not simply looking for high-rise, low-maintenance options.

Buyers expect more from developers –

from yoga rooms and swimming pools to

future-proofing solutions.

Apartment dwellers are now looking for innovative sustainability features they would have in a standalone house or unit, with the biggest shift being towards electric vehicles (EV) and EV charging stations, according to WINconnect.

WINconnect Executive General Manager WA Lance Randall said there were more than 20,000 EV sales in Australia last year, compared to 6900 in 2020.

However, many buildings in Australia’s capital cities were not making the most of the available sustainable technology.

Mr Randall said WINconnect was one of Australia’s largest providers of community energy networks, with more than 15 years of experience and more than 1000 sites under its management.

It championed equitable access to the latest

cost-saving, sustainable utility technologies for

all Australians.

“More than 2.3 million Australians live in apartments and many of them are now saying they want an individual EV charger they can use at their own convenience,” Mr Randall said.

“As we prepare for the uptake of EVs, giving as many people as possible access to an individual EV charger will go a long way to help reduce our carbon emissions.”

He said the developer community needed to stay ahead of consumer needs by future-proofing their buildings.

This meant designing them to grow in line with the increased demand for energy without needing to retrofit buildings and pass on significant costs to residents.

In WA, WINconnect’s new developments in 2020-21 added one or more innovative sustainability solutions. The most popular was EV chargers for shared or private parking bays.

“It is now more critical than ever to maximise our efforts to reduce our impact on the climate,” Mr Randall said.

“At WINconnect, we are always looking for new ways to achieve sustainable design and help developers, residents and consumers transition toward net-zero emissions.

“The shift in consumer attitudes, when it comes to individual EV chargers in apartments, isn’t a flash in the pan. It’s here to stay and we need to be ready.”

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