Paradise found

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Coastal development takes a major leap forward with the completion of the Star of the Sea condominium project a Miami resort-style complex at Terrigal Beach, north of Sydney
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Resorts are typically identified by extensive landscaped gardens and recreational facilities, such as swimming pools and tennis courts. To create an apartment complex with these features involves a variation from the normal land use model in our towns and cities.

Architect Christopher Baker of Thrum Architects says the local government regulations for the Star of the Sea building site specified two-storey townhouses the site was large enough to have up to 75 such houses.

"This didn't fit with our brief from the developers," he says. "We were asked to create a prestige residential development one that conveys the impression of a five-star resort. We couldn't see that happening with a ubiquitous sea of roofs. There needed to be plenty of space to introduce all the landscaping features."

Baker says the company took an innovative approach to the problem, designing for a lesser number of apartments than the regulations allowed. In return, they sought permission to contain the 52 apartments within just four buildings so the open spaces could be maximised.


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"The council felt the four higher buildings were more appropriate for the site," says Baker. "This allowed us to have 70% of the site dedicated to the landscaping and recreational facilities."

Baker says the site slopes down to the sea a feature that was used to advantage in the design.

"The slope lent itself to a stepped design," he says. "Terracing each of the buildings allowed them to follow the contour of the land they appear to climb up the hill from the sea. It also creates a soft effect on the macro-landscape. When the apartments are viewed from the main beach, you are not overwhelmed by the scale of the buildings and you can still see the shape of the hill."

Baker says the terraced design also provided many apartments with large terraces, offering views of the ocean. Non-rectilinear floor plans were another way the views were able to be maximised from as many rooms as possible.

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close up of apartments

"We wanted to create a direct relationship with the sea," he says. "Consequently, there are sight lines to the water from the entrance of each unit, and large areas of glazing. This creates an immediacy, a sense of being part of the environment."

For further information, contact Thrum Architects, Level 1, 55 Sussex St, Sydney 2000, phone (02) 9262 4455, fax (02) 9299 1524. Website: www.thrumarchitects.com.au.

Aug 23, 2004
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