Honed concrete with black oxide wraps the base of the building, providing a solid plinth from which the white concrete blades of the apartments spring. The circulation stairs form towering elements at each end and float away from the building, revealing apertures to the internal corridors behind.
While the brief called for each of the apartments to be alike, structural elements have been articulated differently to ensure a varied façade. This is achieved through colour, balcony treatment, sun shading and orientation. The site was generous enough to allow a single-loaded internal circulation. This allows units to achieve a northerly aspect to living spaces and cross ventilation. Combined with high quality double glazing and thermally broken frames, thermal comfort is easily managed. The corridors achieve high levels of natural light and views, and are terminated with small break-out space nodes incorporating planter beds to the east and west as vertical gardens.
Opportunities were developed between the design team and precast concrete contractors to develop a construction methodology and design outcomes to create an efficient structural solution and achieve a dynamic aesthetic. The precast concrete package utilises the material as cladding and the primary structural components of the building. During construction, the exterior precast walls were extended to aid safe work practices, minimising the need for expensive scaffolding and increasing the speed and ease of construction.
The project includes a number of functional shared spaces, including an outdoor communal kitchen and vegetable gardens, and informal indoor ‘library’ nooks where tenants can share books and each other’s company. In fact, just about every element of the design is purposed to bring the tenants together and reinforce the sense of community that is the driving principle behind Common Ground. In doing so, it underlines the premise that good architecture isn’t just about great buildings, but transforming lives in a positive way.