Street smart

A strong street presence, diverse apartment options and a sustainable design are hallmarks of the Newstead Terraces residential development
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view of the apartment building

Nothing exists in a vacuum, runs the adage, and this is particularly true in terms of architecture. An effective design responds to and enriches the environment it inhabits.

Sunland Group, the creators of the world's tallest residential building, Q1, has created another progressive residential project. Located in an inner-city precinct of Brisbane, Newstead Terraces is a boutique five-storey riverside development.

Architectural firm Arkhefield, led by Shaun Lockyer collaborated with the Sunland design team, from project concept to completion.

"The core concept for this building was urban response. Sunland wanted a building that spoke to the street, took cues from the context and created a courtyard sanctuary within," says Lockyer. "This allows for diverse unit types, offering choices about how one lives, how urban you want to be and whether you want a city or a river view or a courtyard or pool aspect."

To the south along Evelyn Street, the building is five storeys and enjoys city views. The building is double stacked along this wing to take advantage of views to the south and the courtyard to the north.

To the east, along Newstead Terrace, thebuilding steps down to the north, allowing for the internal aspect and street scale. The pedestrian and vehicle entry sits midway along this access and provides a portal to the inner courtyard.

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view of the entrance to newstead terraces

On the northern front, along Austin Street, the building is domestic in scale, respecting the street environment and optimising north sun into the courtyard space behind. The strong street presence of the terrace units is clearly presented here and embodies the urban ideologies of the building.

The development includes 61 residential units, designed for owner-occupiers. Almost half the units are three bedroom, including seven double storey and five penthouse apartments, with the balance comprising two bedroom units.

Lockyer says the style of building is driven by the desire to present elements rather than a layered and stacked appearance. Grouped elements create pockets of interest and visual variety rather than a single building mass. The inherent qualities of materials such as stone, aluminium, metal and plasters provide a natural, honest colour palette.

Designed to maximise outdoor living and appreciation of the views, outdoor terraces dominate the facades. Living areas and bedrooms are centred on the terraces to create a close relationship between inside and out.

The building is a reinforced concrete slab construction with core-filled reinforced blockwork for support. A post tensioned podium slab was designed to deal with the structural transfer between apartments and the carpark below.

Issues of sustainability were also integral to the building's forward-thinking design.

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view of the recreation pool area

"A large proportion of units have flow through ventilation to reduce the need for air conditioning," says Lockyer. "Screening to the east and west reduces solar gain, while balconies to the north provide screening for the internal spaces. The landscaping will promote a micro-climate that sifts the prevailing breezes, creating cool air currents."

The use of low embodied energy materials was also carefully considered. This involved assessing the long-term maintenance and repair costs on the project as well as the capital outlay.

As part of the sustainability initiative, recycled brick and concrete were used as a basement substrate to support the 50,000 litre water tank incorporated for rain water harvesting.

For more information, contact Sunland Group, PO Box 1301 Surfers Paradise, Queensland 4217, phone (07) 5592 0042, fax (07) 5592 1470. Website:

The apartments enjoy a direct relationship with the internal courtyard. Outdoor terraces are screened off with gates to afford privacy or, alternatively, can be opened up to the courtyard. The central space is dominated by a large deck area with a sculptural water feature that links to the sequence of swimming pools half a level down.

The architect says the scheme's density reflects a conscious decision to have a lesser number but greater quality of product to create the optimum residential environment. From the outside, the design seeks to provide strong visual interest that complements but doesn't overpower the surroundings.

Apr 01, 2005
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