New boutique townhouse developments are invariably a balancing act. On one hand, there's the desire to maximise a site's architectural potential, while on the other there's the need to accommodate local government regulations designed to protect the existing character of an established residential neighbourhood.
This townhouse project, by architects Brian Meyerson and Michael Hay of Brian Meyerson Architects, Sydney, required a number of specific design solutions. Meyerson says although the site could legally accommodate four townhouses, its North Bondi location demanded a high standard of fit-out. There was a need to provide separate entries, three bedrooms, double garaging and outdoor courtyards for each unit all on a relatively small block of land.
"It was essential that each townhouse have its own identity," says Meyerson. "The design needed to fit with the low and informal style of the freestanding Californian bungalows and red brick houses in the immediate neighbourhood. We wanted to create a model for smaller family homes that would satisfy people's desire for a patch of their own, while avoiding multi-unit blocks in areas where they are not suited."
Meyerson says the resulting design was based on the traditional terrace housing model, which was updated and adjusted to ensure a better balance of privacy and solar access both for the residences and neighbours.
To provide a maximum floor area with minimum visual impact, the garaging is hidden in a basement. This means there is only one driveway and no garaging fronting the street. However, each house has its own pedestrian entry, plus an entry from the basement.
In addition to two main floors, each house also has an attic floor with a third bedroom, tucked back from the front of the building.