A Positive Look At Multi-Residential

Increasingly we are all thinking about how best to protect our fragile environment. We are looking closely at our cities and thinking about ways to make them more vibrant and sustainable.

Issues like this are important because Australia is likely to have a population of forty million by 2051. Much of this growth will occur in our existing cities. At the same time, we are also seeing an increase in single person households.

I fully support the Australian Institute of Architects view that the way to house more people in our cities and regional towns is to plan for greater density.

By doing this, we can protect bushland from urban development. We can also make the very best use of our existing infrastructures like schools, sporting facilities and public transport networks that exist around city centres.

Up until now, we’ve had very little planning regulation on multi-residential development, and the resulting apartments have sometimes been less than inspiring. Sadly this has turned public opinion against multi-residential projects.

Quality multi-residential is something we should all want for our cities and our environment. I encourage all decision makers to be involved in ensuring a higher quality of design goes into urban development.

If we can advocate for improving planning and building policies, we will see better designed multi-residential developments.

Nationally the Institute is encouraging State and territory governments to consult with their Government Architects to determine how to raise the standard of apartment design.

In WA we are working with the OGA (Office of the Government Architect) and the State government on the Design WA policy. Based on the SEPP 65 policy in NSW this policy will ensure positive outcomes for the WA’s Built Environment. Architects are trained to design complex buildings that meet design standards and community expectations. This expertise needs to be used a lot more in design processes and reflected in the regulations that guide the multi-residential building industry.

The WA Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects is pushing for the mandating of architects for multi-residential buildings over three storeys and is discussing the opportunities for licensing of building designers who also work in this space.

There is so much work to be done to improve energy use, waste management, adaptability, storage and accessibility. Important features like improved light, ventilation, noise control, car parking and bike storage can all be improved.

I’m pleased to support the Institute’s work on improving multi-residential design in Australia. I’m looking forward to using my influence to start conversations and develop improved policy in this area. The long-term health of our cities and our environment will benefit if we all work on this together.

Image Credit: The Pocket, Claremont on the Park by Cameron Chisholm Nicol
Awarded 2017 Harold Kratz Award for Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
Photography by Greg Hocking