Degrees of separation

James
28 Oct 2011

Allen Jack+Cottier set a new benchmark for mixed-use development

Stockland Balgowlah and The Village is a retail and residential development which has been recognised for setting a new benchmark for mixed use development in Australia. Designed in conjunction with the client, Stockland Balgowlah provides 17,700 sq m of retail space, including a supermarket, 686 car park spaces, 60 speciality shops, restaurants, cafés, a gymnasium and a club building. The Village - the residential element - provides 234 residential apartments, 370 car park spaces, communal gardens and a resort-style swimming pool.

The site was subject to two previous Development Applications which were rejected by the Land and Environment Court. Allen Jack+Cottier and Stockland took great care with the design to respect the scale and character of the existing surroundings and consider the desires of the local community and zoning controls in order to gain council approval. The scale of this large development has been reduced by locating eight buildings on a landscaped podium over the retail and car park areas.

The architects' manipulation of the ten-metre fall across the site separates the retail, car park and loading dock entries from the residential development. This physical and visual separation greatly benefits the residents as they have the convenience of living above a shopping centre, without any infringement on the peaceful enjoyment of their home. The blank walls of big retail boxes 'disappear' below ground, as do the service areas, while retail levels activate the street edges. The transition between private and public space is clearly defined.

A new through-site pedestrian link bisects the large site block, providing easy access to the retail areas and connecting with Balgowlah’s main shopping street and residential neighbourhood. The public plaza engages the street and extends the public space into the site, supporting a range of activities and retail types. The result is a natural synergy between lifestyle and commerce.

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