'Barcelona' Apartments - Canberra
Projects / Residential
Barcelona is a 14 unit residential development in the inner-north of Canberra, within the McKay Gardens precinct. The underlying principles were to design a high quality series of units, of one and three bedroom types, with a distinct contemporary character, that can set a new standard in this redeveloping part of the city.
The site is bounded by similarly scaled residential units to the north that share a central green space to which the design contributes additional open green space and benefits through orientation, balcony position, and outlook. The other three sides of the “end block” are defined by a street-face architecture of substantial brick walls creating an identity of high quality, substance, and long life. The brick walls at the east and west have been designed to mark the corners with dark, highly textured “towers”, whereas the central south-facing central element forms the entrance, facing onto a green landscape foreground. The generous green perimeter adds to the amenity of the street, as does the visually interesting architectural composition of textured walls, projecting hoods, and deep cut recesses that mark and protect the entrance. Underground car parking is located off the western side “slip street” which provides access for all units in this block.
Internally the direct and efficient circulation is provided with and enlivened by daylight, and the open stair contributes an invitation to use as well as adding spatial interest and a sense of generosity to the linear passageway. Durable masonry materials repeat the sense of quality of the exterior. The individual units are simply planned and open onto broad north-facing balconies that, as mentioned above, benefit from their orientation and the consolidated central urban green space.
The building fabric has been designed for durability and energy efficiency, the window openings through their position offer good cross ventilation (as well as limiting summer heat gain and winter heat loss), making for a year around comfortable living environment.
Barcelona demonstrates that a carefully crafted, well considered approach to small scale multi-unit architecture is possible. This development, with the same developer-driven parameters as for the surrounding area, sets a new standard for small scale inner-city living.